Sunday, May 24, 2009


We had quite an adventure on Friday night. As you can tell from the title of this post, it involved fire. A small one. In the microwave.

As you know, we completely renovated our house last year. During that process, we purchased all new appliances, including a microwave. For the past few weeks, every time I used the microwave, I kept seeing some white steam/smoke coming out of the vent inside the microwave when I opened the door. Each and every time, there was no smell and the smoke quickly dissipated, so I assumed it was normal. Last night, however, DH decided to heat up his dinner in the microwave. I was sitting on the couch, and all of the sudden I heard DH exclaim "Oh, shit!!" As I always do, I assumed he did something dumb/absentminded . . . like turn on the wrong burner of the cooktop (remember Passover when he set fire to my beautiful apple charlotte?), or forgot to remove a paper label, or got distracted while the water pot boiled over. In my usual mocking tone, I turned and asked "What did you do this time?"

Much to my surprise, DH shouted that there was a fire in the microwave. I went running into the kitchen and there was smoke pouring out. We tried to look inside to figure out where the fire was and whether we could put it out ourselves or if we needed to dial 911 and go evacuate the baby quickly. I first assumed DH had just been cooking popcorn or his dinner too long and it caught fire. We quickly realized, however, that nothing INSIDE the microwave was on fire. Instead, the thick, white smoke was pouring out of the side vent of the microwave. We unplugged the microwave, and tried to touch the wall, unit, and cabinets to see if there was heat emanating from anywhere. The smoke slowly started to slow, and we were left with the rancid smell of an electrical fire. We turned on the exhaust vent, opened up the windows and doors, and decided we should call the non-emergency number at the local fire station.

About 5 minutes later, the fire squad showed up. All of them. We opened the front door, and they kept coming in . . . one after the other. I think there were ten guys who walked through the front door. For a non-emergency fire. It reminded me of a clown car, or one of those comedy routines where the person answering the door keeps trying to close it, and one more person suddenly appears, says hello, and enters. It must have been a slow night at the fire house!

They used a heat sensor to check out the walls and cabinets. There was a localized area of heat on the microwave, and they told us there were no active fires. They told us to keep an eye on it and make sure it continued to cool off, but that if we kept it unplugged it should be safe to leave where it is until a tech from GE comes out to replace it.

So, the good news is, we have a very responsive fire squad and there was no damage done to the walls or cabinets. We expect a tech from GE to come out on Thursday, and we'll be asking for a new microwave! Good thing it is still under warranty.

1 comment:

Chele said...

LOL! It reminded me of the time I blogged about last October/Nov. when I set the dining room table flower arrangement on fire.

Glad this one was serious and hope that it's an easy quick fix.