Where there's smoke... - Sudden Write Turn Freelance Writing

Where there’s smoke…

We are fairly resourceful and the Husband was raised in a “Do-It-Yourself” environment. So when our dryer started shutting off mid-cycle, he carefully researched the symptoms, including on the manufacturer’s website, and settled on first trying to install a $10 part the size of a quarter. It was a fairly simple process that did not even involve moving the appliance, just popping the lid. While he was in there, he vacuumed out lint build-up. (I always say that if you get the opportunity to vacuum in a hard to reach place, do it!)

Deciding to change my life and try freelance writing was initially an easy decision.  I knew I had the attitude and the skill to make a go, and the drive to learn. This is a “Do-It-Yourself” kind of life. The deadlines for recent early paying jobs have passed leaving the pipeline for paying jobs rather empty.  I do have volunteer jobs to keep me busy and learning, and spent the past week reading business books. I learned that there is a lot I can learn.

A freshly washed load of blankets was the test for the dryer. Upon start up, I hear a weird noise and call the Husband to listen. We decide to pull out the blankets and start it again, empty. Still hear a weird noise and now…a smell. Imagine my surprise when I open the dryer door and see flickering through the vent holes at the back of the drum. FIRE.

When you discover how much you still need to learn about something, you can look at the chasm that lies between “here” and “there” and either conclude that you obviously don’t know what you’re doing and pack it in, or, you can decide to figure out how to get across that chasm. For anyone willing to try, it is extraordinarily easy to find your own way. After a twelve hour period of feeling a little in over my head, I drive to the library and get on the internet. My bookmarks list is now overflowing with resources for small business start-up and educational opportunities. Not knowing how to do something is not an excuse for not trying.

The ladder truck was a nice touch.

The fire extinguisher that has sat in the corner of our first floor laundry for ten years had its shining moment. I repeated, “Fire, I see fire!” four or five times in as many seconds, and the Husband reached down to grab the fire extinguisher and hand it to me. I blasted it into the dryer and then handed it back to him while I ran to dial 911. Within five minutes we had the dog and cat outside with us as ALL the fire trucks from our local station pulled up. We had put the fire out ourselves, but felt better having their say so.

Having the right tools and knowing how to use them is half the battle of mastering an unfamiliar situation. Home appliance repair may be off our DIY list and we plan to replace the fire extinguisher. I’ve never run a business before. I’ve never put out a fire before, either. I am willing to use the right tools to get the job done, even if I first have to go out and figure out which tools I need.

NOTE: The Fire Dept. determined that the fire was caused by the dryer partially venting into the cabinet instead of completely out, the heat igniting the remaining lint. Since the Husband hadn’t touched the vent area and had just vacuumed out a ton of lint, it’s a bit of a mystery. If the replaced part didn’t have anything to do with the fire, then at least the vacuuming exercise dramatically reduced the flammable material. And that makes the DIY effort worth it. But we’ll call a repairman next time. Lesson learned.


Reader Interactions


  1. Wow. That’s about all I can say. So happy that you were right there to handle it quickly! (Did you have flash backs to when we were trained to use fire extinguishers as RAs?) 🙂

    • I don’t want to think about what might have happened if we weren’t standing right there. And, yes, every fire safety lesson I’ve ever had flooded back in a nanosecond!

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