Monday, January 08, 2007

A Near Disaster

It all started Friday morning when I went into the kitchen at 6am in order to wake myself up for a 7am language lesson (some sort of punishment, I think). As I walked in, I noticed a bright red, flame-like glow coming from the hole in our wall that holds all the wires. Everytime the refrigerateor would hum or I used the electricity in the kitchen the glow would become brighter. As I was experimenting with this, I also noticed the smell of burning plastic. Next thing I knew, the kitchen light wouldn't even turn on and was just flickering. I, using all of the common sense I could muster, turned off the light switch and left for my language lesson.

I returned a couple of hourse later to an even stronger smell of burning plastic and a brighter flame-like glow. I mentioned it to Sarah my roommate, and it turns out she has about as much common sense as me and also turned out the lightswitch and left the room. We began to explore a bit more and as we looked closely at the the hole in the wall, we realized that we had a "live wire" which was burning through the wire that connected to our light. I mentioned that if there was an electric fire, we could just put it out with water so it was a good thing we were in the kitchen and Sarah kindly informed me that, actually, water doesn't put out that sort of fire. We proceeded to spend some time trying to figure what exactly does put out an electric fire. Baking soda? No, that's a grease fire. Hmmm.

Consequently, we decided to shut off the electricity in the kitchen and made a long trail of powerstrips to my room in order to keep the refridgerator cold. We also moved our teapot into the hall. I called the landlady and, I quote, "You must find Waleed. He is near your house. I cannot help you." So, now begins the search for Waleed. Unfortuantely, my search proved fruitless the first day so we spent the night hoping for no problems. (My roommate Amy also returned from the states and we found that the electricity turned off in the kitchen is also the electricity in her room. Bummer.)

The search for Waleed continued with no avail on Saturday afternoon, though I was closer. I actually found someone who knew him, but he was gone when I tried to find him. At this point, it was about 9pm and we were in my room while Amy was doing laundry. We opened my door to find the bathroom filled with smoke and a really horrible stench of burnt plastic. Keeping our heads about us, we ran around the house screaming and I turned of all the electricity. I grabbed Sarah, and once again, went on the search for Waleed. This time I was able to find him and, to my great joy, was able to explain everything that happened in Arabic, and he was actually able to understand me! He promised to come soon.

Sarah and I went home and I donned my trusty headlamp (which apparently, is only cool if you live in CO because my roommates thought I was crazy) and we waited for Waleed. Ten minutes later, he came to the door and, with no fear, turned on all of the electricity again and went to work in the kitchen. 1/2 hour later, he emerged with a mangled wire that I'm pretty sure had already been used for a number of years before they put it in my house. The kitchen was fixed! Then, onto the washing machine. He opened it up and explained that water had been pouring on the wires which caused it to melt-down and now it is moot (dead). Uh oh.

We thanked him profusely and paid him $6 for his work, returned the teapot and other kitchen items to the kitchen, and went to sleep still not knowing how we would put out an electric fire, but confident that we wouldn't have to for a couple of weeks at least.


the Beckster said...

Now how can you beat a story like that?! Loved it! :)

Jimmy Bollinger said...

Great story Sarah! FYI - I think you put out an electric fire with foam, a fire extinguisher would work.

Joyous said...

I told ya! FOAM! hehehe! Good job Jimmy! Maybe I'll send you one for Christmas next year (or bring it along when I come to visit!)...

Sarah/Eve said...

Ya Salem!!! I've always wanted a fire extinguisher for Christmas!!! ;)