Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Washing Machine on Fire?

Is that possible? Well, first I have to say it is nice to be back. It has been almost two months since I last blogged, and the reasons for that are many; guests, holiday (will blog about that later) and lots of other practicalities of the boring kind, which I will spare you. But last nights event needs a mention.

We were just preparing to go out for our regular start-of-the-week-treat-yourself meal at a small restaurant when the smoke alarms went off. They sound terrible! I was upstairs and rushed down only to find Mrs Swenglish also wondering what the reason was for the emergency. Normally it is the cooking that gets the alarm on the ground floor going if the door to the kitchen is not shut, but we were going out!

All of a sudden we realised that the smoke came up from the cellar, and we had forgotten that there was an alarm there as well. It smelled of paper burning, but how was that possible? We have a cellar under the whole house, so it took what seemed ages to find out where it came from.

In the laundry, which incidentally also is where the heating system is located, the smoke was quite thick. There were no flames anywhere, but since the only fuse that had tripped was the one for the washing machine, we homed in on this proud representative of white goods from Hoover.

It still looked all white and shiny but very hot. Mrs S had put in some washing at 90 degrees and something had gone desperately wrong. This was too hot!

A quick call to the fire station’s non-emergency number and a request for “someone to come and have a look at it” resulted in a fire engine and another vehicle with wailing sirens pulling up in front our house. Concerned neighbours came out and I felt almost embarrassed. Firefighters in full gear with portable extinguishers and oxygen tubes on the back were preparing themselves to enter the cellar where we just before had been running around trying to fan the smoke out with flattened Bran Flake boxes from the recycling pile!

They quickly established that the engine or the heating element had overheated and burnt some covering made of greasy paper, hence the smell of burnt paper. According to them it was “kaputt”, and they unceremoniously carried it upstairs and plonked it down in front of the house. The chief said “If there is smoke there is fire”, which will come in handy when we claim on the home insurance.

After having had a negative answer initially the insurance guy rang back later and apologised for his earlier assessment and said that since there actually was a fire, not just a mechanical or electrical fault, he would now class it as Fire. Just get some proof, report or so, and we will process it.

So, does it sound just a little bit weird perhaps if I say that I am in a way glad that the washing machine caught fire? I mean, rather than just dying on us?

Yes, washing machines can catch fire.




oreneta said...

OK, that's weird, and kind of scary considering how often I leave the machine on and just go out. Hmmmm.

Limningedge said...

wow ... that's the type of hot wash you don't want ...
welcome back!

swenglishexpat said...

Oreneta and Limningedge - Thanks, you two loyal readers! I can report that the new machine is veery good. I am almost looking for stuff to wash.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit scary!! Just imagine if it had caught fire while you were out. Mmm...perhaps I should be grateful that ours just died on us.

swenglishexpat said...

LadyFi - Then I suppose we would have had to pay for the door the fire crew had smashed to get in!