Playing with Fire……Oops!


My neighbor Jen and I have had quite a few adventures. I think the one that stands out in my mind the most is when I went over to help her make orange chicken and fried rice for dinner and we almost burned her house down.

It was a cold dreary winter day….. Strike that, we live in Texas so it was sunny and all of 65°F. I went over to help her make dinner before her husband got home from work and I’ve never seen how they make Chinese food so when she said she had a recipe for Orange Chicken and Fried Rice I was intrigued. By the time I got over there she had already cut up the chicken and was getting ready to fry it in the Wok.

The directions said to put the oil in the Wok and heat for about 5 minutes so we turned on the burner and chit chatted in the kitchen for a few minutes and then decided that it was time to start frying the chicken. She put the first piece in the Wok and then went the throw something in the trash can. Before she made it to the trash can the entire pan erupted in flames!

They have wooden cabinets over their stove so I grab the pan and hold it in the middle of the kitchen so that it can’t catch any thing else on fire. I kid you not, the flames were at least a foot and a half tall. So now we’re both kinda panicking. I asked her if she had a lid to the pan…. of course not. Then she said to put it in the sink and we’ll turn on the faucet. Now my mom had drilled into my brain that grease fires plus water equals exploding fire so I quickly vetoed that idea.

Now I’m standing in the kitchen with a flaming pan that isn’t showing any signs of settling down any time soon so I’m racking my brain trying to think what to do. Oh oh I remember, baking soda. Nope, no baking soda in the house. Oh oh, flour looks kinda like baking soda throw some flour on it. I lift up the pan a little so that Jen can crawl under it to get to the flour and she throws a handful in the pan and the flames get bigger. It never occurred to me that flour was probably what was burning in the pan in the first place.

By now the house is filled with smoke and her three-year old is crying. Then the light bulb went off. Dirt! Dirt will put this out. So she crawls back under the pan so that she can get the kid out of the way and open the door to the patio for me as I carry a flaming pan through her house. I then set it down on the concrete patio as we proceed to throw handfuls of dirt from the garden area into the pan.

We pretty much filled the pan with dirt that we later realized was laced with dog poop (yea that pan is so dead), but the fire was out. The catastrophe and the excitement were over. The next words out of Jen’s mouth were “I need a cigarette.” So we sat outside for a while as the smoke inside the house dissipated and looked at the now warped pan filled with greasy dirt.

After a while I went back to my house and got my olive oil and my stir fry pan and we started over. This time the heat did not go higher than medium-high so it took longer but there wasn’t another fire and the food actually turned out pretty good. Her husband was a little ticked about the pan, but I think he was also glad everyone was safe and that they still had a house.

This happened right before Christmas so guess what I put under their tree….. a fire extinguisher! : )

~Jenny

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2 thoughts on “Playing with Fire……Oops!

  1. Oh, I know exactly how that feels! Did the same thing a few years ago. Thankfully I had a wet towel wrapped around my hair so I just flipped that straight off and onto the pan and smothered it. But the house smelt for hours…… and our smoke detectors were linked to our house alarm, so the whole street knew about it too… I need to get my act together and get a fire blanket to hang up in the pantry. Thanks for the reminder!

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