We had an “incident” at the house the other day. As with many other such occurences, I can look back and see that there were ample warning signs; warning signs that anyone who had not ironically dubbed themselves “clever” would be sure to notice. Me however? Hell no! You may have to start calling me The Hubris-filled Chick. It was bad. Here’s the epic story:
I have recently acquired a tiny ceramics kiln, much to my delight. I’ve been wanting one for years, and I was excited to finally start firing. The one problem is the kiln has to have 6 feet clear all the way around it when firing, but the cord is nowhere near that long. We used the extension cord pictured above to make it reach. The test firing went off without a hitch. I loaded all the stuff I’d made into the kiln, and got it ready for my first real firing!
Looking back, the warning signs were obvious. This extension cord is supposed to be 3 pronged, but the third one, the ground, was missing. We’d used this same cord before to run the lawn mower, and it worked fine, so I kind of ignored that. Apparently, that is pretty important. You can also see electrical tape on the left hand side of the photo up there. That’s where the cats chewed it, and we electrical taped it back together. The third problem was that the orange plastic around the base of the plug had worn away, so that you could see about an 1/8th an inch of the interior wires. In my mind these were all separate incidences, but they should have added up to a major warning. Alas, I just went ahead.
Hubby started the process for me while I was at work and he was off for the day. He followed the correct procedures, and checked on it, then went and ran an errand at my request. When he came home, the whole house smelled of burning plastic. He found the cord, melted and turning to charcoal. He quickly unplugged it so the kiln would shut off. That was probably not the safest choice, but that’s what he did. He had to open all the windows and the garage to air the house out, and we left them open overnight.
The plastic is fused to the chair. I know we had a super close call, and I’m sure in an alternate universe, our house caught fire. I am so thankful that my husband and all our pets are fine, if slightly retarded from the plastic fumes. We now own a heavy duty extension cord that is used only for the kiln. Anytime we fire, one of us checks on it every hour or two. The stuff that was inside the kiln during the melt down was not affected, and the kiln seems to be working great also. So there’s the whole gory story. I’m glad my misfortune amuses you all so much!