18 July 2008


I'm just curious. It seems that I've extinguished at least one fire in every place I've ever worked, and once in a place I lived. Is this normal, or do I just have some sort of weird calling?
This evening was the company picnic that I skipped, I don't think there was booze and if there was I'd have to get my ass home from Oaks Park, so I decided to pass. So, I was the last one out of the building tonight, as I was locking up I noticed a smoky smell in the air and at first thought it must be a grass fire or someone burning yard debris. As I walked in from locking the gate, a big puff of smoke bellows out of the "outdoor break room," a fenced in area with patio tables, the ground covered with bark dust (also known as mulch in places eastward).
It was a patch in the corner, about 10 feet square smoldering. At first, I only saw the black patch, about the size of large western belt buckle. I ran inside and filled the liter pitcher that we use to maintain the forklift batteries. I dumped that on the black spot and quickly realized from the heat radiating through my shoes that the area on fire was much larger.
Mulch burns in an interesting way, I experienced it once before back in college at Collins, heading over to Cravens to chill with Chris and Josh or something...
The landscapers had just put down new mulch and a stray cigarette was flicked into the volatile substance. I tried to stomp it out, but quickly learned that it was in vain. I wish I would've grabbed one of the old school fire-hoses that were in the Cravens hallway, but instead I grabbed a fire extinguisher and discharged it all over the place. That happens sometimes...
Tonight only the hose was necessary. I gave the whole area a good drenching just in case it was a weird case of spontaneous combustion. I have a suspicion that it came from a cigarette.
Have any of ya'll extinguished fires before, or is it just me?


Justin said...

In 15 years of restaurant work I had only encountered 2 or three unexpected fires of unknown origin. Most were caused by improper equipment usage and were quickly taken care of. Although the summer I spent working in front of a wood fired grill did feature quite a few near freakouts when the heat from the grill would cause my apron and the wet towel protecting my junk to catch fire. Luckily, fire in the groinal region always got my attention and provided boundless entertainment for my coworkers as they watched me swat at my tender parts in an attempt to smother the flames. I quit that job and really enjoyed the interview process while looking for a new one. "So, why did you leave your last job?" "Well sir, I was afraid I was going to burn my cock off. That would be pretty bad for me because I use it for lots of different stuff, so I decided it was best to leave."

Sounds like you've got a pretty intimate relationship with fire as well.

Shae said...

I've never put out a fire, but I did witness one once. When I was working at Pizza Hut, I smelled smoke. I said, "Guys, something is burning." Everyone looked around apathetically and said, "I don't smell anything." Then the smell got stronger, and again I tried in vain to get anyone to care.

Finally, the smell got super strong, and with unintentional comedic timing, I say, "GUYS, SERIOUSLY, SOMETHING IS ABOUT TO BURST INTO FLAMES." Then right after I said it, something burst into flames right in front of us all.

Someone had taken a stack of paper food orders and hung them over a food warmer.

In my office jobs I've only put out figurative fires.