The Sewing Place

A cautionary tale

SkoutSews

A cautionary tale
« on: March 03, 2017, 18:59:33 PM »
It's been a busy few months here at Skout Towers, so with previous forum difficulties and whatever I haven't posted much.  I have been sewing though, in my little sewing room where I can get into my usual muddle and shut the door on it all when I have to re-enter the real world.

A few weeks ago I'd had a couple of hours sewing, then had to go to make the meal.  I switched everything off and left the room.  After we'd eaten, DH went upstairs and came down in a hurry demanding to know what I had left on in the sewing room.  There was an acrid, hot smell in the hallway.  The room itself was thick with stinking black smoke and thick soot had settled on all my bits and pieces.  What a fright!  What a mess!

We found out that the switch on the floor lamp next to the machine had shorted out.  The switch block itself was completely burned away and the cable leading from it had also burned.  Luckily the fuse in the plug had blown and so the source of ignition was extinguished.  The lamp was standing next to my large piece of corrugated cardboard that I used for tracing patterns.  It was scorched, but fortunately hadn't caught light. If it had gone up it would have set fire to the 2 large rolls of tablecover paper, also for pattern tracing.  Then the fire would have really taken hold.

My stash of fabric is kept in plastic crates, so was okay.  Everything else, including the dress I was working on, the fabric recently arrived and out for 'getting to know', pincushions etc had to be washed.  The entire room had to be stripped out, washed down and reassembled.  The soot was thick, black, sticky and smelly.  It covered everything.  All those little bits and pieces that we have lying around, pattern pieces, scissors, snips, you all know the scene.

The light was a 'father and son' type with an uplighter and a spotlight, with an in-line double switch -perfect for sewing I thought.  It had been in my son's room and was about 15 years old, bought from Homebase.

We had a very lucky escape, the whole house could have gone up with us in it if this had happened overnight.  I now have all electrical equipment in the room set up so that it can be switched off at the mains when I leave the room.  I have a new floor lamp and will be extra careful with all old electrical bits and bobs in future.

Take care and be safe!


Fajita

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 19:17:26 PM »
Oh no, how scary that must have been.
I have two of those big and little standard lamps, will make sure they're always off when not observed. 
Glad you're ok.

SkoutSews

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 19:22:07 PM »
Oh yes, be careful with them!  Be sure to switch off at the wall.  My light was switched off, but the mains socket switch was on.

Holly Berry

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 20:30:27 PM »
So scary. I now use an rcd plug and power surge extension lead, making sure I switch off at the wall every time I finish for the day.

Glad you're all ok.
Procrastination get behind me 

b15erk

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 21:28:14 PM »
Omg, thank goodness you are OK.

I think we do get a bit complacent.

Will check mine tomorrow.

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Sewingsue

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 07:28:49 AM »
Oh yes, be careful with them!  Be sure to switch off at the wall.  My light was switched off, but the mains socket switch was on.
Trouble is so many things are designed to be left on (sky box, telephone units etc) that it is easy to forget about switching off the wall socket for other things the way we used to.
Thinks: floor lamp and table lamp in living room, computer and peripherals (router is supposed to stay on), extension cable in sewing room because the wall plug is awkward to get to  :'(
Bernina Aurora 440QE, Brother BC-2500, Singer 99K (1938), Silver Viscount 620D overlocker.

SkoutSews

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2017, 12:33:06 PM »
It's difficult isn't it?  I'm obsessive about it now in the sewing room. all electricals are on switched extensions so they can be off before I shut the door, like Holly Berry.  Then there are all the things in the sitting room, TV, satellite box, computer chargers, router, all of which have to be left on.

Thank you all for your messages!

Tamnymore

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 15:03:55 PM »
Goodness, poor you. You just never know when something like that could happen.
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

Vegegrow

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 20:06:16 PM »
My parents always unplugged every thing at night after my grandparents neighbours house burnt down in the 70's killing 2 I have inherited the habit ... must make sure my DD does it to

Thank you for posting skoutsews .....a good reminder
"The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary." ~Mary Kurtz

Iminei

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 08:44:03 AM »
OOoh! how hideous for you. I hope the insurance helped with the re-dec, replacement and all!

The only thing I'm a little OCD with is the iron...
Whenever I have been ironing and have to go out (of the house, I sew in the dining room so difficult to just shut the door and forget as we mainly live in the DR, especially in the winter) I pull the plug out of the wall!!!
Definitely off then !!!

Only problem comes when (on the very rare occasions) Mr I. irons a shirt, he turns the switch off at the wall, before unplugging and taking his iron back to the cupboard ***....
then the next time I come to press (N.B; press, I do not iron things...and that includes shirts!) some fabric, piecing etc...I stand there for ages wondering why on earth the damn thing is not getting hot!

***
Oh yes! Mr I's got very good about not using sewing equipment etc...
There was one day he absentmindedly picked up a pair of my scissors to cut some paper or whatever...He had them in his hand, must have sensed a change in the atmosphere in the room and looked over to me, and caught the expression on my face !!!! They were put down immediately, murmuring ..."probably the wrong pair to use..!"
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again


Catllar

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 17:31:38 PM »
What a scare - I've got one of those lamps - must check it out . I find that I have so many bits and bobs plugged  via extensions and multi plug sockets - the whole room could be a fire hazard and ( whispers) I'm always leaving the iron on -<
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !


Sewingsue

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 19:50:42 PM »
Now I keep wondering why things aren't working - till I remember that I switched off at the wall the last time I finished using whatever it was.
Bernina Aurora 440QE, Brother BC-2500, Singer 99K (1938), Silver Viscount 620D overlocker.

SkoutSews

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 20:42:27 PM »
OOoh! how hideous for you. I hope the insurance helped with the re-dec, replacement and all

Imi, very fortunately the expense was limited to a new light and an awful lot of elbow grease and cleaning products. No insurance claim was required. I feel that we were very lucky. It could have been so much worse.

I know that look about the inappropriate scissor use. I've had it from my mother and I can do it myself!

jen

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2017, 09:17:23 AM »
I'm going to turn my floor lamp off at the extension now, thanks for the warning. We had a similar but less drastic problem with a light bulb. There's one which lights the steps to the basement, high on the wall. I kept smelling a sweetish smell, and searched all round for suspect piles of fungus, dead wildlife etc. This went on for weeks. It turned out that some varnished wood which DH had been getting ready to make into a handrail was leaning against the wall and touching the bulb. It was well scorched, but luckily hadn't caught fire. Given its position, if it had taken hold in the night, the fire would have funneled up two storeys and the whole house would have gone up.

Lowena

Re: A cautionary tale
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2017, 10:01:15 AM »
I always turn everything off at the plug when I've finished with them. I have an electric heater in the workshop and I always unplug that,the iron and the sewing machine from the wall....better safe than sorry
Triumph of hope over experience :D