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Friday 20 February 2004

Marshmallow anyone ? [spiro]

As a kid I used to build camps in the woods, steal matches from the parents and start small fires. Discovering that wet wood doesnÂ’t burn till its dried out and that starting with small twigs first provides you with a better fire.
There are a huge number of substances that can aid in starting a fire, petrol, white spirits etc. At some point or another IÂ’ve poured just about anything I could get my hands on into a fire and watched for spectacular results.
In my teens I discovered potassium nitrate and experimented with gunpowder. I must admit thought that apart from some fairly poor example of fireworks I never managed to actually blow anything up.
I had my fair share of accidents as well. Nothing major and IÂ’ve always managed to prevent it from spreading too much further. Unless youÂ’ve seen how fast a fire can spread you have no real idea at how quickly a small fire can become an inferno. In all this time one thing I always did was to ensure that the fire was totally out before leaving, simple reallyÂ…. Well you would of thought so!
Last night at home, IÂ’m having dinner and drinking a bottle of wine. Watching a review of the Rugby World Cup on DVD. Both my flatmates are in and cooking so I wasnÂ’t surprised to smell burning from time to time. At one point I got up and switched off the oven that had been left on, expecting this to be the cause of the smell.
An hour or so later (plus a bottle of wine) I notice that the flat is actually very smoky and its time to discover why. Nothing in the kitchen is left on or burning. Time to open a window and get some air.
My bedroom window is already open and all I can see outside is smoke bellowing up the back of the extension downstairs. Thinking back now my next actions were very silly. I climbed out of my window and on to the roof of the extension, walking to the edge I find myself looking at a scorched garden full of wood and rubbish. Some still on fire, some smouldering. Either way this isnÂ’t good.
It looks like someone has started a small bonfire to burn off excess wood and left it unattended once itÂ’d died down. Unfortunately it didnÂ’t stop there and started to work its way across the garden towards the buildings. When I discovered it, the bags of rubbish against the building wall were already smoking heavily, the addition of chemicals (possibly not flammable I donÂ’t really know) and white spirits in the garden made for a pretty unpleasant situation.
Fire Brigade were called out and the fire extinguished. I was so angry last night with who ever had left it unattended for stupidity on an enormous scale, but also with myself for removing the battery from our smoke alarm. I wonder how long it would have been till I noticed if my window had been shut and how far the fire may of got.
One things for sure, after a bottle of wine, had I gone to bed, I probably wouldnÂ’t of been woken by the smell of smoke.


  1. Suit actually had fireman beat down his door but the fucktard couldn't be bothered to blog it.

  2. Reminds me of when I was a kid. I used to burn stuff at the bottom of the garden with my brother and a friend. One day we went down there and there was a big black mark on the ground about a meter in size. It was burning under the ground. I put some water over it and left it. A few days later if had grown again. A ton more water and I stopped it but I learnt my lesson and I thought my bro had too.
    When I was older my mum found my bro carrying buckets of water up the drive (we have a long drive ~100m). He claimed he was building up his arms. How stupid does that sound. Oddly my mum bought it. I guessed what the real reason was and my bro confessed to be trying to put out an under ground fire in the small wood next to our house. Still, I think he learnt his lesson for real this time.

  3. It was a traumatic time for me.. happened at about 3am, involved a bacon sandwich, 3 firemen using a battering ram to take my door off its hinges and half the neighbourhood standing in the street..
    Its something I'm trying to forget rather than blog for future reference :)

  4. Any particular reason you took the battery out the smoke alarm? In light (bad pun) of this I assume you'll take it out your "Mighty Thor" arsejabber and get the smoke detector working again?

  5. It’s about 10 – 12 feet up and getting up to it is a mare. Positioned right outside the kitchen, with no way of sealing it off. And as anyone with a smoke detector knows you burn just one slice of toast and the next thing you know you’re flapping a tea towel at the unit to shut it off. Well to cut a long story short I was using a griddle pan and there was a little fat on it. So I removed the battery then couldn’t be arsed to put it back in after. Really stupid, but there you go.

  6. 'anyone with a smoke detector knows you burn just one slice of toast and the next thing you know youÂ’re flapping a tea towel at the unit to shut it off'
    Yea, that like that in my old house too. Right pain in the arse! We did not remove the battery, but it ran out and we never replaced it :)
    Sounds like your a lucky man, would have been dead easy to fall off that roof with a bottle of wine inside you!

  7. whats a smoke detector? I got seriously into bomb making at school using a variety of sodium cholrate and sugar mixes. We got quite good at ramming it into piping with lead shot and taking out the sides of cars and such like.
    The funny thing was ( and the connection with thisblog ) is that this kid in my class was drying a load of cotton wool soaked in a sodium chlorate and a sugar solution on the radiator in his bedroom ( we used to use this as a fuse) and managed to burn his bedroon down - from that day to this his nick name became 'Sparky'... hehehe
    Oh and my exwifes younger brother accidently burnt their house down playing with candles when he was a kid - but I was never allowed to mention it in case it bad him mentally unstable or something.....

  8. heh...when I was about 12 I thought my stash of jazz mags had been found out so when I thought the coast was clear I dump about 20 or so mags on the open fire in the living room... not clever... not only did the touch down hurl hot ash and flames everywhere, all it achieved was to burn the top and bottom covers...leaving 18 untouched, well thumbed publications.DOH!!!!!