Just minutes after Anne left for school on Friday morning, I heard sirens. Then I saw flashing lights. An ambulance and then a fire engine drove up the street and stopped a few houses up the block. It seemed to me to be more of a medical emergency then a fire. I didn’t gawk, so I don’t know which house they had come to visit. After having stuck my head out of the door for a minute, I went back inside to get ready for work. They were gone when I came out again to go to work. We’ll have to wait until the neighborhood grapevine let’s us know what really happened.
Year’s ago we had an opportunity to entertain the fire department ourselves. One evening, I was sitting at the computer, just as I am now and heard a weak siren sound coming from down by my feet. The power strip that the computer runs off of, has an alarm. I started to investigate, then Anne noticed a flickering light emanating from our bathroom. In our house the computer room adjoins the bathroom. Rounding the corner, I spied an eight-inch long flame flaring out the electrical wall socket that is situated below the bathroom sink. I called out the alarm, “Fire!”, and then ran downstairs to the basement. Going to the breaker box, I threw the main breaker. This plunged the house into darkness. I grabbed a flashlight and came back upstairs. The flames were out, but the socket was still smoldering. Anne had called the fire department by this time.
Rather then waiting patiently for the firemen to arrive I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took our dry chemical fire extinguisher and squirted it at the still smoldering socket. This was a mistake. The extinguisher covered the floor with a layer of white powder. About this time I heard the sirens approach and then stop. We met the firemen at the door, explained the situation and then led them to the bathroom. They examined the damage which was slight. They pulled out the charred remains of the electrical plug. They had some sort of infrared device that showed no residual heat was still in the wall. After three of the firemen had finished examining the fire they declared is safely out. They then proceeded to tramp the white dry chemical powder out of the bathroom and throughout the rest of the house. I threw some towels down to limit the further spread of the dry chemical and we soon went to bed. Starting the next day and over a period of about a week, we had a series of electricians in to fix things up.