Back in the early 1980's I had a close call too
I lived in an older 3 story walk up building. One day I decided to make some chili. I was also doing laundry.
The laundry room was in the basement...4 floors down (I lived on the 3rd floor). Unfortunately if you didn't tend to your laundry immediately someone would steal it
And at times people would steal it when it was sopping wet.
The basement was also a creepy looking place...unfinished and lots of doors that had storage lockers and whatever else behind them. So I tended to not stay down there any longer than I absolutely had to.
This one day when I was making chili, I had timed the washer. I turned off the element under the pan that I was browning green pepper and onions, and went to the basement to take out the dry clothes and put the washed stuff in the dryer. Not sure how long I was gone...maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
I get up to the landing between the second and third floor and a girl comes running telling me that my apartment is on fire!!!!!!!!!!!
I rush up the last steps and see several fire fighters standing outside my door and another fire fighter come running down the hall carrying an axe panting "I've...I've...I've got the axe!" I was stunned. It was funny, but scarey too.
I unlocked my door and my apartment was filled with smoke...thick smoke.
Apparently someone across the way saw smoke billowing out of my kitchen window and called 911...thankfully!
There was no fire, but instead of turning the element under my chili pan off, I accidently turned it onto HIGH and burned everything in the pan...and my pan.
I was afraid for my cat because I couldn't find her. I eventually found her underneath some clothes in a laundry basket in the walk in closet. She had gone to hide from the smoke. The fire fighters checked her out and gave her oxygen and used a huge fan to blow out the smoke.
That experience maimed me for life! I now check and recheck my stove dials when I turn them off just to be sure.
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia
One night when I was very young and my only cookware was a cheap aluminum saucepan, I filled it with water and put it on to boil for mac-n-cheese. Then I got a phone call from a friend and went to lie down on the bed while we talked.
A couple of hours later, I came out to the kitchen and found that the aluminum saucepan had melted
all over the electric burner.
I thought I had ruined the stove and would be in trouble when I left that apartment... but once it all cooled down, to my amazement, I was able to simply flake the aluminum right off the heating element... no problem!
Really, really glad your story had a happy ending, too.