Saturday, December 4, 2010

Connecticut: An Old Flame

Back when we lived in Connecticut, there was a wood burning stove in the family room.  Naturally, the ashes had to be removed on a regular basis and "dumped".  I mean "disposed of."  Now, as you can imagine, the task of cleaning the stove was a little messy but it was easy enough to do, so whenever it needed to be done, the ashes were placed in the appropriate bucket and set aside. 

  The pail of hot ashes was always placed in a certain place...away from anything combustible, to avoid fire, of course.  Remember, my husband, a fire fighter, was always careful about things like that!  He was actually fanatical about fire hazards.  And rightfully so.  I mean, come on...he was a "fire suppressionist."  (I once heard him refer to himself as that.  I like to use that word sometimes rather than "fire fighter".)

Are you ready?  Paint the picture in your mind.  It's fall.  The dried leaves are everywhere since our yard was very well treed...about 2 1/2 acres.  Now, way in the back of the yard was the garden.  Behind that was the patch of black raspberries that were used to make jelly.  Anyway, while I was at work one day, my husband, the "fire suppressionist", decided to empty the ash bucket.  What a nice guy, you say!  Giving the old lady a hand!

  He walked down to the garden and spread the ashes throughout the garden because, as you all know, ashes amend the soil.  He was in a hurry because he was going to meet his friend.  They were going hunting.  My husband loved to hunt!!  His nickname back then was "the Happy Hunter."  Meanwhile, back at the house... 

Yep...picture it...a raging engulfed...trees ablaze!!  And, if it wasn't for the fact that my youngest stepdaughter drove by, we wouldn't have known about it!  How scary is that???? 

The Volunteer Fire Department arrived.  They all knew us, as it was a small town and my husband's family had lived there for years.  Pardon the pun, but "word spread like wild fire" and someone (thank goodness) knew where my husband was hunting so they went to get him.  Luckily, the house was unscathed.

 Oh, the ashes amended the soil, all right.  But A FIRE IN OUR BACKYARD...STARTED BY A FIRE SUPPRESSIONIST no less was not going to amend anything...especially all his friends on the FD!!!!  They teased him for years about that little mishap.  Poor guy.
Needless to say, there is a lesson here:  only empty the ashes after they're cooled...completely cooled! 

My husband and I laughed about this incident for years.  So, I guess it's really true what they say:



  1. When you think what could have happened with a spark blowing on the roof.....lucky drive-by.

    Many years ago I decided to burn out a fence row in the yard. A spark blew up and dropped into a rotted hollow old tree. I looked up and saw smoke coming out of tree! It was near the house and was a huge old tree. Our son was in his teens then and he climbed up and wet down the inside with the garden hose!

  2. We have a wood stove so I know exactly what you are talking about. We try to time cleaning the ashes with warm days so that the coals can completely burn out before scooping. That's usually difficult in winter. I'll let ashes sit for days before I dump them in the garden. I worry about things like that. Great story -- sorry your husband got teased so much over it. :)

  3. Ah yes. The old 'fire suppressionist should have known better' story. :) I have one also. My husband, a former firefighter in his younger days, had a '69 corvette for a while. Well, it sat a bit too long in the garage one winter so he needed to syphon the old gas from the gas tank as it had separated. So instead of going down to the nearby auto parts store and buying a syphon, he decides to use our cannister vacuum, knowing he'd have to just suck up the liquid into the hose and turn it off before it reached the vacuum itself. Well, Mr. Fire Expert forgot about the fumes, and promptly blew up the vacuum. Thankfully, he was not hurt and the garage was not scorched either. To this day I still shake my head at that... And yes, he had to buy us a new vacuum cleaner.

  4. Glad everything was okay. That is funny. We once set those plastic lawn chairs on fire in college. They melted down to NOTHING. Caused by an overflowing ashtray. Thankfully, nothing else was harmed and it happened outside. We didn't know it until we went out for a smoke and there was nowhere to sit but black ashes when we opened to door. LOL.

  5. This could have been so much worse, thank God your daughter drove by. How embarrassing for your husband a fireman and he started the fire! Like you said, Live and Learn!

  6. I laughed so hard..and then I read texwisgirl's comment and really laughed... Yikes~!~!
    then varunner burning the lawn chairs.oh my goodness..~!
    No fire stories here ....glad you got snow.. it's so beautiful coming down today, I didn't go anywhere today, just stayed inside and made hats for grandgirls...crochet..they turned out really cute..
    ta ta for now...from Iowa

  7. And make sure you pay your taxes - if you don't they come to look at the fire not put out the fire.



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