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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How a Cabbage Patch Doll Tried to Burn My House Down

On New Year’s night, I think it was 2002, regardless the year...it was a cold windy night in Hudson, Wisconsin (aren’t they all?!).  I was still struggling to get some of my kid’s Christmas gifts out of the packaging they came in...which is an irritating challenge I really despise.  I can barely manage it...how do manufactures think kids can figure it out without using a heavy duty scissor or a knife (“Now that’s safe,” she said sarcastically).  As usual, our two young children received far too many gifts from their generous grandparents, aunts and uncles...not to mention their doting parents!  

So, there I was surrounded by toys in various stages of being sprung from their respective prison boxes.  I had a nice toasty fire going in the family room, and was contemplating all the packaging around me.   As I looked around the room, my eyes landed on the big Cabbage Patch Doll box I’d just wrestled the doll out of.  I thought, “Voila, I’ll just burn the box in the fireplace and avoid trekking out to the recycling bin in the cold.”  

Without thinking this through...I grabbed the Cabbage Patch Doll box and tossed it on top of the lovely fire I’d created.  Whooosh!  It flew up the chimney with a fiery clatter.  I threw open the patio door and ran on the deck to peer up at the other end of said chimney.  There I saw a multitude of bright embers floating up toward the stars and then down again...onto our roof.  

I shouted what had happened to my husband, who was in the basement doing laundry, and he (smartly) yelled back, “Call 911!”  Within minutes of my call our on-call fire department was on site - I couldn’t believe how quickly they arrived.  I sheepishly had to reveal why we had a chimney fire (I blamed it on the Cabbage Patch Doll) and, since I knew many of the firefighters, I heard about my error in judgement for many months!  

However, it all ended just fine...the chimney fire went out by itself and I learned an important lesson!  It’s called a “wood burning” fireplace, not a “box burning” fireplace for a reason.  That has been my only experience with calling the fire department (fingers crossed) and I was extremely grateful for their prompt arrival.  As well as very sorry to have caused them to speed to my rescue on a cold, cold night, leaving their families for mine.  Now that I work at Aladtec, whose customers are fire departments and EMS agencies, I have an even  greater appreciation for all those in the public safety sector.  Thank you one and all...and to all a good night!

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