Sunday, February 14, 2010

If the Stove's Too Hot... Maybe It's On Fire!

We have had a stove that some friends very generously gave us almost two years ago, when they redid their kitchen and got new stuff, because the stove we inherited when we moved in here was really junky and definitely older than I am. It's bisque-colored, which matches our cabinets, and looks pretty. It cooks pretty well, and the oven temp is usually right-on.

Until two days ago, when it decided that it was done with me, and decided to cook its own meal. Namely, my beautiful, shiny red teapot.

It was very windy here that day, and the heat was on, plus the gas fireplace, so we didn't think anything of it when something smelled a little hot. I was on my way into the kitchen to make some cocoa, and even the kitchen was kind of warm, which is unusual in this drafty old house, since the pantry was built over the crawlspace under the porch, meaning it's not insulated. That's actually what caught my attention first, that it *smelled* warm in the kitchen. I looked around, and there didn't appear to me anything amiss - the burners were black, the oven was off, my shiny black kettle sitting quietly...


My kettle was scorched black!!!!!!! The burner *was* on, and was so hot it was black too, I just couldn't see the little indicator light because the handle of the kettle was in the way!!!!!!!! The thing was, the knob was in the right place, but the burner was on anyway, and the knob itself was so hot by then that we couldn't try turning it, plus the blackened kettle was glued to the burner in front of it, anyway. We hadn't heard anything because the lid to the kettle was off so the water we had boiled hours before could cool. We ended up having to unplug the stove to get it to go off.

A few hours later, once everything was cooled off, we were able to pry my poor, ruined kettle off of the burner, which had red ceramic baked onto it, and move the knob. It turned out that something inside the knob area inside the stove must have broken off, because the "off" position is now about half an inch to the left of where it used to be. So, even though it had been turned off, the burner was still on, and probably had been for a long time.

We are SO lucky this didn't happen at night, or worse, during the day when I wasn't here. I'm certain there would have been a full-blown fire at some point, or maybe the kettle would have melted all over the stove, or exploded somehow. Either way, not a good situation. Now I'm afraid to plug the damn thing back in, so we're stuck until our new stove, which is a gorgeous, all-pushbutton convection model (even nicer than the one the county forced us to leave behind in the house they'll be knocking down in a few months, so there!) arrives sometime on Tuesday. I will probably use the oven for dinner tonight, so I'll plug it back in and then unplug it again when I'm done. I'm not comfortable with it being plugged in when I'm not looking at it.

Rest in peace, pretty kettle. We bought a replacement last night, but it just won't be the same. :(


AndreAnna said...

That's really scary!!

If it's any consolation, Mike and I lived for months without an oven when we couldn't afford a new one when our old one broke.

You'd be surprised but there's SO much stuff you can cook on the grill -= even lasagna! As long as you put something in a water bath, you can essentially "bake" with your grill!

Not Your Aunt B said...

OMG! That is crazy scary! So grateful it was caught and no one and nothing (other than the poor little tea kettle) was hurt.

Rebecca said...

Holy! Scary!! Glad you noticed before it lit up into a full blown fire.

Stimey said...

Oy. Terrifying. I'm glad your house didn't burn down. Phew.

Nowheymama said...


d e v a n said...

WOW! Scary. Glad you're getting a nice new one though.

creative kerfuffle said...

holy near miss batman. THAT would have freaked me out big time. i'm all fire-paranoid since the house fire across the street. i constantly check the stove and unconsciously smell the laundry room (cos there could be an electrical fire), etc. the stove thing probably would have sent me over the edge.