The Night I Started My Kitchen On Fire And Gave My Schnauzer A Phobia
It Was A Mistake That My Poor SueSue Schnauzer Is Still Paying For.
It was a beautiful Spring night in April on our farm in southeast Missouri. I was in a happy mood because I had just gone to town to sign the closing papers selling our farm, allowing me to prepare for moving back to Nebraska where my husband had been transferred months prior. I decided to fry some chicken for my son and his girlfriend at the time, Dawn. Just after I set up two skillets with Crisco melting in them, I heard Dawn come up the driveway. I ran out the front door to say hello to her mother. I got distracted visiting. The next thing I knew, my kitchen smoke detector was loudly announcing my huge mistake.
Dawn and I ran into the house and to my horror, I saw that the kitchen stove was completely engulfed in flames. I had left the hot shortening pans on. The kitchen was full of smoke and Dawn worked quickly to get the seven Miniature Schnauzers in our rescue out the back door into the yard to safety. SueSue, my youngest Schnauzer, would not leave my side while I quickly dumped a canister of flour on the flames, followed by all the baking soda I could find. Then I picked her up and handed her to Dawn to get out.
The fire continued to burn as I discovered the stove's burner controls were melted and the stove could not be unplugged. It was hard wired into the wall! The cabinets over the stove were now starting to flame. I had no working fire extinguisher. I hollered to Dawn to go down to the basement and find the fuse box to kill power to the stove. There were a nightmarish few minutes while I fought the flames and she searched for the right fuse. In desperation, I finally yelled to her to just kill all of them.
Dawn and I had both been breathing heavy smoke for around 10-15 minutes while putting the fire out. She had the presence of mind to grab a couple of kitchen towels, which we held over our faces. Despite that, we were both coughing hard and finding it hard to breathe. As luck would have it, I I had an oxygen machine that I used at night. I rolled it out onto the front porch and plugged it in. We took turns breathing oxygen for about half an hour until our coughing got under control. God knows what we both breathed in that night with the combination of burning electrical wire, grease, plastic, and wood. It was a horrid smell.
SueSue Was Emotionally Scarred. - Here is little SueSue on the front porch at the farm in happier days.
SueSue, or Susie, dug under the back yard fence and ran to me on the front porch. She was NOT about to be separated from her mommy! She climbed me like a tree and stayed on my lap, shaking, for a very long time.
I had to tell the new owners of the house that I'd set their new house on fire. Fortunately their homeowners insurance covered the damage, well over $20,000. We completed our move to Omaha and SueSue seemed fine. That is, until the smoke alarm in our new kitchen went off for the first time. Susie went into a complete panic attack, shaking uncontrollably and panting. I finally got her settled down by taking her outside.
But this was only the beginning. Sue developed a fear of the oven as well. Our oven has a stupid sound it makes repeatedly as it is cooling down after use. Every time Susie hears it, she goes into a panic attack. We're still trying to figure out how to disconnect that sound. Meanwhile, we keep our oven use at a minimum. Our smoke detector in the kitchen was so sensitive that it went off every time I cooked dinner. Eventually to keep my dog sane I had to remove it. There's another one nearby that doesn't go off for no reason.
Sue has also developed a phobia of virtually any loud noise now. Thunderstorms, fireworks, any sudden big noise will set her off. I'm currently trying to research and learn how to help her.