The 10 things I learned when my toaster caught fire

It was 🔥🔥🔥

Rebecca Akrofie/

The other week my toaster caught fire. It was a small cheap one being used until the fancier expensive one, which had broken, could be replaced.

A bit of hot cross bun crumb had got stuck in the new toaster and when I came to use it, the crumb promptly set alight. Now this has happened before numerous times. A little smoke is emitted, no big deal. I ‘pop’ the toaster, switch off the electrics and tip out the crumbs, or clean the crumbs tray. Whatever.

This time was different. I tell you, that’s the biggest flame I’ve ever seen leap out of a toaster. I had turned around to do something else for a quick second (it’s always a quick second too long) and this huge flame appeared.

Here are the things I learned at that moment:

1. My emergency training is rusty as heck

To my shame, my first instinct was to try and blow. the flame. out. Oh Lord, forgive me for that foolishness and let me not ever do that again. I then went to grab the fire blanket, which was inexplicably out of access and tied up so the emergency tab could not be pulled. Panic sets in.

2. I am not as prepared for adult life as I thought

My mind went blank for a split second after the fire blanket fail, and I grabbed a tea towel to try and starve the happy, dancing flame of oxygen. If this was to be the test of all my childhood training, truly I would not pass ‘Go’ or collect even a nominal sum/reward.

3. Your parents know some things

I yelled for my Mum (“The toaster’s got a flame! What should I do!?”) and she came running. Calm as anything she just said “Turn the electrics off.” By this point, the flame had reduced somewhat, probably due to my hasty tea towel heroics. As soon as I turned off the mains switch, the flame died. I really wish I’d thought of that.

4. It’s a good thing the smoke alarm is checked regularly

There is really nothing to add here, other than I’m so glad one emergency precaution is maintained. At least I know something is smoking/on fire, even if I have no clue how to deal with the situation.

5. Time can move quickly and slowly at the same time

Panic is a strange old chemical. Once it bubbles up it can really warp time. My memory of this day is weird because I remember it happening really slowly. Seeing the flame, trying to act- I remember it happening at two miles an hour. At the time however, I was rushing here and there trying to deal with it, and my heart rate was 2948953 beats per minute.

6. My panic response needs reigning in

I think it’s a natural response to panic if your toaster is on fire. But I don’t know, I just felt that I panicked a little too much.

7. I have a fear of spontaneous flames and electrocution

I’m pretty sure this is why I didn’t think to switch the electrics off. Some subconscious, childhood myth telling me that I’d be fried if I touched the electrics whilst the toaster was on fire. I also hate fire.

8. Spaces can get big and small all on their own

Panic can mess up your spatial awareness. In my head, when I ran to get the tea towel, I remember it like I ran a mile, when really it was only a few feet away. And the toaster seemed much bigger and closer than it really was.

9. Panic is like being on drugs

See #5 and #8 of this list.

10. Panic is a useless response

This list was pretty much dedicated to panic. It’s a response I wish we as humans didn’t have because it helps nothing/ no one.

To conclude, I will always check the toaster for crumbs before I use it.