A Stressful Situation

Bernadette Lancefield
Summary 
One day I was cooking chicken steaks for dinner. Soon after placing the tray in the oven, I smelt something burning. I opened the door to remove the tray. Smoke filled my lungs. I threw water on the flames to extinguish it. The smoke detector was going off. My neighbour raced over to help. We opened up the house to let in some fresh air. It turned out that a piece of paper had caused the fire. The experience was a lesson in always being careful in the kitchen. It also showed me what wonderful neighbours I have.
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Bernadette Lancefield on 15/01/2013
Chicken roasting in an oven
oven

Cooking a simple meal can sometimes have unexpected consequences

Cooking chicken steaks

One day I was cooking chicken steaks for dinner. After sliding the tray into the oven, I began to prepare a salad. The radio was on and I was singing away to the music.

A few minutes passed before I became aware of a burning smell. Startled, I flung open the oven door to extract the tray. That was the wrong move, I realised later.

Fire

Heat gushed out, almost suffocating me. Smoke began to fill my lungs, causing me to cough. Mind whirling, I threw water on the flame to extinguish it.

The shrill beep of the smoke detector alerted my neighbour, Maria. She raced over to help. By that time, the fire was out, but the air was still very smoky.

Maria investigated the source of the flame. It turned out that paper was the culprit. It must have fallen out of the cardboard box that the chicken steaks were in.

To help disperse the stench of smoke, we threw open doors and windows. Fresh air swept through the house, providing a welcome relief. Thanking Maria, I made a mental note to buy her a present for being such a great neighbour and helping me in a time of need.

Zora's flight

Meanwhile, my seeing-eye dog, Zora, took advantage of the open front door and fled the premises. She was frightened by the incident and bolted. Her disappearance triggered a fresh wave of panic.

Maria jumped into her car and drove around the area in search of Zora. I rang my parents, who live about fifteen minutes away, and explained the situation. They came over to help.

The wait seemed interminable. My stomach was coiled in anxiety. What if Zora had been hit by a car?

Safe and sound

Fortunately, my seeing-eye dog was found by a little girl who lives in the area. My relief was immense as I cuddled Zora. I couldn't blame her for running away, as the noise and confusion must have been very distressing for her.

Valuable lesson

While the oven fire occurred a long time ago, it taught me a valuable lesson that I still remember today: always be vigilant in the kitchen. Prior to cooking, I double-check appliances, to ensure they are free from flammable products! I have also purchased a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, just in case.

Wonderful neighbours

The incident also helped me to realize what wonderful neighbours I have in Maria and Robert. They are not the in your face kind of people. We may go days, weeks, without talking much to each other. But if I'm ever in trouble, I know they'll do whatever they can to help.

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