If you don’t want a fire, then don’t use the stove
I’ve mentioned in earlier entries that the apartment in which I stay is a pretty nice one. The development company that put up this building specializes in family units and so while the fancy amenities like two storey lobbies, concierge services and parking garages don’t exist, the living units tend to be bigger, better designed with more internal amenities such as bathtubs and enclosed kitchens. The on-going monthly fees also tend to be lower in this building compared to other similarly sized units in Bangkok. So why do I bring this up?
The one design mistake that I believe was made in this building was the choice of stove units. The units are counter mounted and flush. They have heating panels which, when hot, glow orange, but when not so hot, look like the rest of the counter. They take a long time to cool down and during that time, the orange glow disappears. Other than a small red light that stays on until the glass top reaches room temperature, it’s difficult to know whether the stove top is hot or not. And because the stoves are flush with the counter and the same colour except for an aluminum strip around the edges, I suspect that people tend to put stuff on them while they’re still hot. And I’m pretty sure that there have already been some kitchen fires in the building because of this issue. I suspect this to be the case because since I’ve stayed here, there have been warnings in the elevators to keep stuff of the stove and to be careful. Those signs are never taken down and often are quite scary looking.
So, you’re still wondering why I am mentioning this.
Well, yesterday while working at my desk, I heard a big explosion coming from the building’s outdoor parking lot. When I went out on my balcony to take a look, I saw a fireman aiming a hose at two burning propane tanks. As I watched for awhile, people who work for the building’s management company were taking turns learning how to use the fire hoses that are on each floor. As each one came up to take a turn, a designated guy would pour some highly flammable material onto the tanks and then light them up. There would be a huge explosion with flames many meters high shooting off the tanks. The fireman would then show the person whose turn it was how to hold the hose and direct the stream of water. They worked together until the fire was out. Then the process would start again.
This exercise seemed strange to me. Who has ever heard of setting massive fires on top of propane tanks, meters away from trees, cars and buildings. As far as I could tell, there was only one hose and one real fireman in attendance. Weird!!! However, it seemed like the people in the parking lot were having a great time. Everyone loves a good bonfire in a parking lot.
Later in the day, I asked one of the staff guys what was up with these parking lot explosions. “Kitchen fires – Too many – Take class to become fireman.”
There you go. Too many kitchen fires. I’m particularly vigilant when it comes to operating my stove. In the last 3-4 years I have only used it maybe 3 or 4 times and each time I was very careful not to put anything on it after I turned it off. For example, I didn’t rest a newspaper on the stove while preparing a meal. Apparently one kitchen fire started this way. It seems like newspapers burn really well.
Actually, I’m generally careful not to put anything on the stove at all. My belief is that in this situation, if you don’t want a fire, then don’t use the stove.