Monday, 1 November 2010

No smoke without fire

They say that there is no smoke without fire.
Well that was certainly the case last week.
My father-in-law has been down for the last week. On Wednesday the whole family were having showers. Father-in-law had had his, wife then had her shower, son was next. Finally it was my turn to make use of the bathroom.
I was heading towards the bathroom when I found myself wondering what my son had being doing because it was full of steam. As I got closer I noticed that some of the steam was black.
Eek, with a shock I realised that it wasn't steam but smoke.
I raced into the bathroom, pulled back the door and found the electric shower in flames.
Dashing back out I shouted to the rest of the family that there was a fire and then told the wife to turn off the electricity at the mains.
Grabbing a towel I was back in the bathroom beating at the flames. Eventually I managed to put out the flames on the outside of the unit but it was still burning inside.
Grabbing hold of the housing with the towel I pulled it from the wall. The inside of the unit was still on fire so I continued to beat out the flames until finally they were all out.
At that point I went downstairs in time to take the phone from a neighbour who had started to dial the emergency services.
Within 5 minutes the fire brigade had arrived.
The firemen made sure that the fire was out, that the loft hadn't been set alight above the bathroom, fitted a smoke detector to the upstairs ceiling and turned on a giant fan in order to ventilate the property.
With all that done they were able to leave.
The next couple of hours were spent arranging for an electrician and plumber to come round and make the shower safe and reporting the fire to the insurance company.
The bathroom is pretty much out of use at the moment. The bath certainly is. A specialist cleaning firm came around on Friday to see what needed to be done to clean up the place. We're waiting for the insurance company to authorise the work.
Its amazing just how far the soot particles carried. We've found them even in the kitchen downstairs. Even more amazing is the fact that it is going to take 2 days to clean the areas that are worst affected, the bathroom, part of the landing and my son's bedroom. The fact that the fire was contained within the bathroom doesn't seem to have stopped it affecting other areas.

Hopefully we'll have it all sorted soon and can at least get back to using the bath. Having a new shower fitted will take a little bit longer but hopefully not too long.

The only good thing is that I was home and that my son had had his shower when he did. I would hate to think what would have happened if I'd been the one having the shower and he'd had his later on during the day as had been planned. If I'd been the one to shower then it might have been 15 to 20 minutes before the fire was discovered by the time I'd got dried and dressed in my bedroom and come back out again. By then the entire bathroom and loft could have been well alight. I shiver to think of what that would have been like.

The best bit of all this though is that on the Monday and Tuesday I'd been on a First Aid Refresher. What was the most important point that was drilled into us over the two days. Check for danger, don't put yourself or a casualty at risk. First chance I get I put myself at risk.

At least I know that in an emergency I wont get flustered and will simply get on with things.

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