Smoke Detectors Save Lives, Beefburgers Can Kill!


A Night Out In Bradford

One Friday afternoon my friend Karen rang to see if I was going out as we usually did that evening. I didn’t want to and that was very unusual for me, but normally a crowd of us went out together and just two of us seemed strange. After a certain amount of cajoling I agreed to meet in in Bradford, 10 miles away from where I live during the early evening.

We went to several bars and then a night club. We had a few laughs but without the rest of the crowd the night out seemed like an anti climax. I was more than ready to go home when it came time to catch the late bus at two o’clock in the morning.

Grilling A Burger

When I got home I felt hungry and also wanted to eat something to soak the booze up to lessen the chances of a hangover the next day. As I hadn’t wanted to go out I hadn’t bought in anything to make a cold sandwich as usual so decided to put a beefburger under the grill. While I was waiting for my burger to cook I went into my sitting room and sat down on the sofa to take my shoes off.

Waking Up Hungry

The next thing that I was aware of was feeling groggy and rather disorientated. I was still sitting on the sofa, my shoes on the floor and I felt really tired. I stood up to go to bed and suddenly thought that I was hungry. It then crossed my mind that I had put a burger under the grill but hadn’t eaten it. It was at that point that I realised that I could barely see through the thick fog of smoke that was swirling around me.

Kitchen On Fire

fire alarm‘Burning burger’ I thought as I rushed towards my kitchen. What I saw as I entered the kitchen would probably have alarmed me more if I hadn’t been half out of it. Flames were starting to take hold on the pine wood at the side of my cooker. The flames had spread from the blackened remains of a tea towel that had been on the top of the oven and hanging partially over the front of the grill. The flames didn’t take long to put out and it was easy enough to make the kitchen safe. I went to bed still hungry – the burger was cinders.

It took me a while to remember what had happened when I eventually woke up in the late morning. At first I thought that I had been dreaming until I looked in the bathroom mirror. My face was covered in black soot and there was even soot up my nostrils. There wasn’t much damage, just needed to replace a work surface and some of the wood in my kitchen and I was finding soot around the house for months afterwards.

Lucky Escape

I was lucky to escape unharmed, but what was really lucky was that I had forgotten to switch my alarm clock off for the weekend as I normally did on Friday mornings. You see it was my alarm clock ringing at 6.45 am that woke me up and saved my life. The burger had gone under the grill at 3.00 am so I had been asleep for almost 4 hours before the alarm went off.

I was then and I am today, 100% certain that I would not have woken up without that alarm, I was too far out of it. As my kitchen furnishings are pine I was lucky to catch the fire before it really took hold. How much longer would I have survived inhaling the smoke? I don’t know.

Best Smoke Detectors

Not long afterwards I bought some of the best smoke detectors  and installed them. I check my smoke alarms regularly to see if the batteries are working. I never cook after a night out drinking. I don’t intend to put myself at risk again knowing that my alarm going off and waking me up as it did was highly unusual – really a fluke saved my life!


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