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Unread 24th of May, 2013, 00:13
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itches
Vampire Lord [Epic Admin]

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Join Date: Jan 2002
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This is badly written. Read it and find out why.

Explosion! Fire! And then, The ColdIt's winter here in Australia, a time when the temperature drops to what most people in the UK would consider summer and us Australian close our windows and get out our heater. I use a fan heater I picked up a few years ago for a decent price, and it's served me well, heating up my tiny apartment quickly with little fuss. Last winter it started to break down, the fan element running fine but the heating thing would randomly turn off. When winter came around this year and I pulled out, the problem seemed to have fixed itself, so life carried on like normal.

I came home from work today, pulled the heater out and set it to run while I got dinner ready. I don't actually like having the fan pointed at me, so I aimed it at the other side of the room and didn't think too much more about it. Some time later I noticed that I was smelling something burning, and when I checked on my heater I realised that while it was generating a lot of heat, the fan part wasn't working.

Picking it up (it's a tiny little thing with a handle) I turned it off and thought about it for a moment, before deciding to try turning it back on to just the fan setting. I rationalised that I didn't want the heating element to run without the heat being given a chance to escape and risk something burning out, but if turning it on to just the fan got that part of it to reset, I could go back to running it like normal. It was a good plan, it was a safe plan.

I picked up the heater with one hand, held it about a foot away from my face and reach out the my second hand to turn it on. My hand touched the on switch, my hand flipped it over and then the heater EXPLODED!

There was a massive CRACK, a flash of light and the massive scent of smoke spilling across the room. I stood stock still in the aftermath and mentally ran through a check-list. Yes, something did in fact explode. Yes, it was right next to my face when it did so. No, I didn't seem to be injured. It was at that stage that I noticed the room was oddly quiet and I noticed that my computer was turned off. I stared at it in bemusement, unable to understand, it had been on a moment ago, how did it get turned off? I then noticed that my modem, plugged in on the other side of the room was also off.

My power had gone out! It had been raining all day, but it wasn't windy or storming, so a power outtage was rather unusual. Then as my thoughts finally kicked back into gear I realised the safety switch for that power circuit must have been tripped and (once I made sure the heater was unplugged and place far away from everything) checking the powerboard did in fact show that.

I wasn't in any real danger there, it was just unexpected having something explode in your face. I got everything running again and made a note to go buy a new heater this weekend. As luck would have it, I actually had a second heater sitting around that I never got rid of. It was an ancient oil heater that I'd upgraded from because it wasn't very good at heating things, and had a tendency to turn itself off if it wasn't placed on the ground just right.

I dug it out, set it up, and turned it on. It was temperamental, and not very good at warming my place up, but it was better than nothing and only had to be used for a couple of nights. I had it set up and running for an hour or so, and while it was taking the edge off the chill in the air, it wasn't doing much else, so I decided to move it closer to where I was sitting.

Picking it up (again, this was a small heater with a handle) I put it down next to my chair, heard a fizzing noise and saw something that looked like fire under the heater. "That's odd," I thought. "Why does it look like my carpet is on fire? ... MY CARPET IS ON FIRE!" Being a smart cookie, I realised that fire was bad. Fire in an enclosed space, on a carpet, underneath a heater being a particular egregious example of it. Thinking quickly I grabbed the heater and moved it off to the side, putting it down and turned back, only to find that the fire was gone. Relieved, I looked at my heater and saw that once again, the carpet under my heater was on fire.

At this point I made the connection, my heater was setting the carpet on fire. My OIL HEATER was setting the carpet on fire. This was bad. I rushed to where it was plugged into the wall, trying to remember if I had actually purchased that fire extinguisher I'd been looking at or not, when once again the power went out.

As luck would have it, this also put the fire out, so once I had the dammed thing unplugged I very carefully moved it away from where it had been and observed it until it had cooled down and I was sure it wasn't going to explode. The carpet made it through pretty well, some minor scorch marks, and the thing isn't leaking oil, the fire was caused my some loose wires, so it could have been much worse. Considering it had been next to my feet at the time, it could have been so much worse.

So, one night, two heaters, an explosion, some fire, and then the Cold. I have no more heaters to run, but at this stage, with the run I've had, that might be a good thing. Come Saturday I'm heading to the shops to buy the safest fucking heater I can find.

And as it turns out, a fire extinguisher.
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