Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fireball Incident

Whenever a cyclone threatens Cairns the MB family loves to recount the Fireball Incident. This story has reached mythical proportions but the version herein is the most accurate.

In 2000 Cyclone Steve was on track to pass over Cairns so the MB family made all the usual preparations, storing water, getting candles, making sure there were batteries for torches etc. Late in the afternoon of the day the cyclone was due to hit, MB also picked up some extra bread at the bakery and for a special treat bought 4 jam donuts, one for each member of the family to have after dinner.

MDR put an esky on a towel on the floor in the kitchen in readiness for the usual power failure. Sure enough, the power failed once the wind got stronger, at around 6pm.

MB being the good mother she is lit some candles and started to assemble a small, portable gas lantern in the kitchen to cook some dinner. This particular appliance used a small gas cylinder which you had to punch with the gas lantern top to connect it. MB duly did this but the gas started to escape very rapidly and immediately caught on fire from the candles nearby. The escaping gas turned into a fireball over 2 metres high and completely engulfed and carbonised everything in it's path. The sight of the fireball was really quite breathtaking and the entire MB family was there to witness it, their collective jaws dropping and their eyes wide with wonder and panic.

MDR came to the rescue by grabbing the towel from under the nearby esky and smothering the fire. A dazed MB and kids were still gaping when a neighbour burst through our front door to help douse the fire, he'd witnessed the entire fireball though the kitchen window which overlooks the street. We gingerly lifted the towel, expecting to see a very damaged benchtop but amazingly enough there was no damage whatsoever, the closest thing to the gas bottle when the gas ignited was a paper bag containing the special treat donuts. This was incinerated and all that was lying there were 3 small, round, black things. MB realised that someone had eaten one of the donuts surreptitiously and cast an accusing eye over the assembled family members. Youngest son rather smugly owned up to eating one earlier in the afternoon!

There was no fire damage at all in the kitchen, luckily the ceilings are over 3m high so the fireball didn't reach. MB did get burnt arms though and needed some pretty heavy duty painkillers to get through the night, no scarring fortunately.

In case you're wondering, we disposed of the lantern and the spare cylinders.

1 comment:

blues buffett said...

Now that has to be THE blog entry of the year!!
Especially seeing just 3 donuts - cui bono? I guess it was pretty obvious. They just don't give you that level of preparation for cyclone-coping. I blame the authorities and Bakers Delight