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Why I am counting my blessings especially often today

Monday, February 10, 2014

We had a fire in our house last night. Everyone is fine and it was a very very small fire, as fires go. We are busy counting our blessings today, but I will tell you the story anyway because there is a real point to it.

It was around dinner time, and we were all in the family room and kitchen, with a fire going in the fireplace and some soup heating on the stove. All of a sudden, all of the smoke detectors started beeping loudly. My husband and I looked to each other, trying to figure out why, because the smoke was going up the chimney from the fireplace, the house did not seem filled with smoke, and the stove was not emitting any smoke. Quite honestly, we didn't take it very seriously at first, because all of the smoke detectors have gone off before when a bug has crawled into them and once for no reason during an electrical storm.

After a few minutes of looking a round the first floor for a fire, we were about to give up. Then our eight-year-old daughter, Ellie, walked over to the stairs to go up to get something  from her room when we heard her scream out "The chandelier is on fire!"  Then of course we got serious. We sent the kids outside and called 911. The fire department was there within probably two minutes and put the fire out. There is minimal damage - the ceiling above the chandelier is damaged, of course the chandelier needs to be replaced, and the steps below it need to be refinished.

What had happened was a lightbulb got too hot and either caught itself on fire or caught the chandelier shade on fire. The blaze quickly moved from shade to shade and was reaching for the ceiling. My husband and I were throwing water on the steps below the chandelier because we really did not want the stairs to catch on fire any more than the little bit that they already had. The scariest part for us was watching the flames dance along the ceiling of the second-floor, because we thought if that caught fire, of course we would have some serious damage. Should we have left the house instead of throwing water on the steps? Yes, absolutely. But in our defense, we were watching very carefully, were not standing anywhere near directly under the chandelier, were only a few feet from the front door, and were literally within about 15 seconds of leaving the house when the fire department showed up (because of the speed at which it was spreading). We were watching very carefully and were not going to risk our lives for this.

So here's what I learned. Number one, count your blessings. If we were not home, and had left that light on, I'm confident that our house would have burned to the ground, or darn close. Number two, think about whether you want to use fabric shades on your chandeliers. I always have, and didn't do anything wrong in this case – for example, all of the bulbs were well below the recommended wattage and definitely should not have caught on fire. However, they did. So I know for a fact that I will never ever ever leave any lights on when I leave the house ever again, especially ones with shades. And I just may never use shades again. This of course could happen with a regular lampshade too if it is a faulty lamp. So, number three, buy the best quality lighting that you can buy.  We spent every penny we had on this house 11 years ago, and when it was time to pick out the foyer chandelier, I'm pretty sure we bought the cheapest acceptable one that we could find.  When I go to replace it now, I will buy the best one that I can afford. I have a new respect for lighting and for the quality of it, because it can start a fire, unlike, for example, a sofa.  So in my opinion, it makes sense to spend your money on the important things that can be dangerous, and if you have to cheap out, do it on other things.  I will never make the mistake of being cheap on lighting again.

And like I said, I will spend the day (hopefully every day)  counting my blessings.  Among those blessings is the fact that I get to write this blog and that you guys come to read it. So that being said, here goes with today's eye candy:






























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Emma said...

A great and intriguing mix of rooms as usual!

MGross said...

So sorry to hear about the fire. But extremely glad everyone is okay. Very surprised you had the composure to write all this and to share some beautiful pictures. God Bless you!

Jennifer@ClassicStyleHome said...

How scary! I'm so glad everyone is okay and the damage is minimal. This is such a good reminder to think about what you bring into your home. My mom bought an inexpensive vase that was made in China about a year ago. She put flowers in it one night and by the next morning they were completely dead. She's convinced it probably had lead in the paint. She refuses to eat or drink from anything that's made in China now.

PattiHutch said...

I'm glad you are ok!! How scary.

But you make a good point about spending money on the right things. I'm taking the shades off our chandelier today! And I should know better because I'm married do a man who knows a thing or two about electricity! I'm thinking of replacing my cheap lamps too!

And...as usual...awesome Eye Candy!!

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

So glad you and your family were ok. I had a similar experience last year, but it was totally my fault. I put fries on to cook and walk out of the room for a minute and and the alarm went off, it caught on fire so quickly.... the most scary thing I've ever experienced. I did find out that I'm not very good in emergences. That God my mother was there she put out the grease fire. On another not thanks so much for the beautiful eye candy.
Blessings~~~ Daphne Nicole

Anonymous said...

Thank God you and your family are ok. Thank you for posting about what happened, it a a great warning and it's something we as decor and design obsessed folks don't think about .
Blessings to you and your family

Kay dancingbrushpainting.blogspot.com said...

So glad you're all ok!! And thanks for the sobering lesson.

Carrie @ Cosy Carolina Interiors said...

Wow! So glad you are all okay and that you caught it quickly!! Great reminder for the rest of us. You never think it can happen to you until it does...

Susan said...

I am so glad that everyone is okay! We had a fire almost 10 years ago and we ended up having to gut our home and start over. What started it? We went to the movies and left our toaster plugged in. Nothing was in the toaster, either. We learned from our insurance adjuster that most house fires are caused by small appliances, left plugged in. Now, everyone in our small town unplugs their toaster, coffeemaker,can opener,etc. when they are done using it - a lesson learned for everyone.

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Stacy, how scary...I'm so glad your all OK......Yes, count your blessings!

Tery H said...

Stacy,
Sorry to hear about the fire and I think I would have, no I know I would have reacted the same as you-maybe worse. When our alarm goes off, someone runs to fan the air in front of the smoke alarm and I get our dog, Luke. Now Luke is a brave 100lb German Shepherd who is loyal and fearless except when it comes to the smoke alarm. He turns into a shaking, yelping ball of fur. He once busted through a screen door, then a 6' wooden gate and 3 trash cans when a smoky steak dinner set the alarms off. My kids were squealing, holding the ears, my husband was fanning the smoke and I had to run after my "chicken dog" 3 streets away. Our family fire escape plan is follow Luke he will clear the way! All kidding aside I am glad you and your family are safe. Light fixtures can be replaced, walls repaired.

Chris said...

Well, first off, I am glad to hear there is minimal damage and no one was hurt. But seriously, there was no way I could look at eye candy after a story like that. You deserved a breather today….

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Stacy,

Thank God you are ok and that your family is safe! Thank you for the reminder that we need to count our blessing.

So happy that you are here today!

Blog Author(s) said...

Wow. So glad you are all ok.

Rhonda said...

So glad all is well!

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors said...

Count your blessings' ...indeed.
It is also a wake-up call to each and everyone of us. On a daily basis to count our blessings!! So happy you and your family are safe.

Jessica said...

Thank goodness you're all OK! That has to be a freak accident fire; I can't imagine that happening again. Maybe LED bulbs will make you feel safer when using cloth shades.

The rooms you picked are great, as always!

diane said...

Wow..so scary! So glad everyone is safe and the damage was not too serious.

Dotti said...

I love looking at your gorgeous pictures............I know it takes time to find and post them.
And relieved for you that the fire was not worse.

Katherine said...

I'm glad to hear that everyone was ok and the kids not too frightened by the fire.
The one good thing that will be happening in the near future is that we will be forced to switch the bulbs to LED. There are great warm coloured LED chandelier bulbs out - they are a fraction of the energy used and stay cool. Even though they initially cost more, they last so much longer.

PamLuvsPink said...

Hi Stacy!!!

How thankful and happy I am that you and your family are safe!!!

Who ever thought that a chandelier would catch on fire? That's so unreal!!! I have little shades on the bulbs on my chandelier, now I wonder if I should take them off?

My goodness what a frightening thing to go through!!! How are you children and hubby? And are you doing ok? Be careful for reactions after the shock of everything you and the family went through, wears off.

Please take care and know that my love goes to you and your family!!!

Pam
xox

BigAppleDesigner said...

Wow. That is very sobering.
I bet that makes you rethink every decision, huh? Andsoareyou.
Was this the thing you've been waiting a long time to write about?

Suzan Sweatman said...

Oh how terrifying Stacy - count your blessings indeed.
So happy this was minimal - and thanks for sharing - I'm going to rethink the lighting I'm buying for this place now
XOXO

Anonymous said...

That is so frightening! You are truly blessed. My husband is an electrical contractor who says extension cords or space heaters are very often the cause of a fire. He has also been changing out light bulbs in a chandelier, without shades, and flames suddenly shot up to the ceiling. We have a lot of antique and vintage lamps and fixtures in our home but they have all been rewired properly. All our plugs have been changed out to baby proof plugs since having grandchildren. And he changed all the chandelier bulbs to fluorescent bulbs because they use very little electricity and do not get very hot. They are very expensive bulbs but like you say, that is where the money should go. So glad you and yours were protected from tragedy.

Scat said...

Stacy,
I felt so sad for you that to tell you the truth I couldnt enjoy your photos this time. I'm so thankful that you posted this because your follwers comments taught me a lot tonight. I'm going to go unplug my coffe machine and buy different bulbs for all our chandys. God bless you and your family.
Christine

MaryBeth said...

This is one of those thank god I learned my lesson without having to pay a big price.
I know how scary a little fire can be, one night I was up cleaning and left a bathroom light-fan combo on way too long and it caught fire. Like you nothing major, fire dept there is minutes but I was so afraid because above it was an attic full of that loose insulation and I spent days afraid something was smoldering. The smell was what scared me into thinking it was still burning.
I am glad you are all safe with minimal damage.

Merlin said...

We are "just now" back and I'm "catching up with blogs" (was not allowed to "compute" the entire time we were away!) THANK GOODNESS "all is well." Our son's town-home burned several years ago (neighbor's fault...) Puts the "fear of Hell" in one!! franki