The Fireplace Incident – Part 2

Adventures, singleness

… See Part 1 of this story here.

One of them, who clearly handles stress better than I do, grabs the fire extinguisher from our hallway heads in, and puts that fire right out. … Fire extinguisher dust is everywhere, my apartment smells like a camp fire, I can’t close any doors or windows… I finally find my apartment’s emergency maintenance line and leave a ridiculous message for the maintenance line.

A few minutes later I get a call back and the man on the phone explains there are some sort of lever things INSIDE the fireplace that you’re supposed to open before lighting a fire. oh. He explains how to clean up the extinguisher dust and says he’ll come by tomorrow to teach me how to open it.

OK, I say. I send a follow up text to the BF explaining the neighbors got a fire extinguisher and there isn’t an emergency anymore. Despite the safety, by the time he calls my first question is, “Where are you?! Where have you been??” He tells me he was at work without service and his phone died. Then I start bawling my eyes out.

“I lit a fire in the fireplace, smoke was everywhere, I couldn’t put it out…..” on and on and on I recount the whole story like a hot mess. He waits until I’ve stopped crying and we’re on the phone for 10 minutes before he starts cracking up and says he wishes it had all been caught on video.

I give him bonus points for making it that long.

He also leads me through opening the “chimney thing” (I’ve learned this is called a damper”) for future reference and because the corner of the log is still smoking a tiny bit.

Once I’ve fully calmed down I close the front door and start cleaning up. I vacuum the living room, wash the blankets covered in extinguisher dust, throw away the chips and salsa, and take a look at my gorgeous West Elm pitcher that’s very likely ruined. I thank God that my brand new couch won’t be delivered until Sunday. I leave the window in the living room open and a fan going. And I give up on the day at 9:45, close my eyes, and go to sleep.

Until midnight. Blasted midnight. When I start hearing, “chirp. … chirp. … chirp.”

The smoke alarm battery has died. DIED. Did I mention the smoke alarm is immediately outside my bedroom door and I’m a very light sleeper? I do everything I can to cover up the noise. I turn up the heater, I put a pillow over my head, I stuff blankets at the door to block the noise. Nothing works. So finally I climb up on a chair, take the battery out, and drive my exhausted, grumpy self to the nearby grocery store in my sweat pants, huge law school hoodie, and uggs – battery in hand. I return home, get the battery in, can’t figure out how to put the smoke detector back into the ceiling, but the light is green and it’s not chirping anymore, and go to bed.

In the morning I leave my room and my entire apartment, that once smelled so new and nice, smells like smoke. I open all of the windows and sliding door and blast the fan – it’s 40 degrees outside. I also grab a rag and really wipe down the furniture and walls to get the last of the fine dust.


Two days later I’m happy to report that the smoke smell is gone and my apartment smells new and clean again. I have not tried to light another fire, and frankly I probably won’t light one on my own for a long time. My couch gets delivered today and I will absolutely be buying the accidental damage plan that includes unlimited free cleanings for 7 years. A mess like me shouldn’t be trusted with gorgeous furniture alone.

There was one casualty in all of this. The pizza. I ate lunch meat rolled up and called it an appetizer plate instead.


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  • Reply
    Breenah A
    March 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Oh my goodness! This is insane. I’m sure that it was no fun to go through, but you live and learn, right? I’m glad you and most of your belongings are all okay!

    • Reply
      July 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Haha totally live and learn. I haven’t been brave enough to try it again at my own place, but maybe when it gets cooler again I’ll give it a shot. lol

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