Before Calling the Fire Department, I Cleaned The House…

Early this morning, I detected an acrid smell in my bedroom, and it was the distinctive smell of an electrical fire.

Admittedly, I have a hypersensitive sniffer, and the smell was intense – to me. I walked throughout the house looking for its source. I walked outside, hoping that it was someone else’s problem. It was not.

Next, I went into the basement and that’s when the smell was most intense. There was no source that I could find, yet the light bulbs in the basement had a blue haze around them. Something was burning.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find the source.

Upstairs, I spent 10 minutes doing a whirlwind clean of the house, throwing things in closets and running around picking up. Because I had a feeling that when I called the fire department, exciting things would happen.

After the house was tidy, I dialed the non-emergency police number and told the dispatcher what was happening and asked if they could come out without the sirens. She said, “M’am, I don’t think so. And by the way, please evacuate the home.”

In less than three minutes, two fire engines arrived at my house and I’ve never met a nicer bunch of fellows. They walked through the basement and pulled out a heat camera and saw that one breaker on the box was hot. A fireman then looked at the water heater and he showed me that the wiring around the bottom element had burned up – thoroughly.

So while I’m very grateful for this good outcome, I wonder, do I invoke the home warranty people who drove me to hard liquor last time, or do I just shell out the money myself? Because I sure do need a new water heater!

To read one of my favorite blogs about heroes, click here.


It was an exciting day here at the Peaceful Palace

It was an exciting day here at the Peaceful Palace.


I sure do like having a basement!

I sure do like having a basement!



Here's the culprit. That little bit of nothing generated enough bad smells to fills the house with an odor.


To read one of my favorite blogs about heroes, click here.



  1. Susan Schnittger

    Oh the joys of being a homeowner. Maybe you should consider a tankless model.

  2. Susan Schnittger

    @Susan Schnittger
    By the way, do have your electric service looked at. And my friend Rosemary – be safe!

  3. Sears Homes

    @Susan Schnittger
    Hi Sue,

    The electrical panel in the house is shiny new. Just had it updated/upgraded when I moved in. It cost more than $2,000 but it’s brandy new!

  4. Rachel J Shoemaker

    It’s illegal for an emergency vehicle to run hot without sirens.

    They can only run without sirens if they are having to fly under the radar for safety reasons, for example.

  5. Lori Jackson Black

    Heroes to the rescue! Thank you firemen!

  6. lyn clark

    By all means utilize the home warranty… Save yourself the hassle!

  7. bfish

    Maybe there’s a silver lining here? If your now-shot water heater was electric and you have gas service to your house, consider switching to a gas water heater. We’ve found it cheaper to operate.

  8. Jenny

    Sounds like an exciting morning! And you’re so calm and collected. I would have been running down the street (probably barefoot and it PJs), screaming “I smell smoke! Call 911!”

    The warranty company has some horrible reviews.

    It sounds like buying a new heater yourself may be the faster route to a hot shower.

  9. Dale Wolicki

    Oh my, such troubles. Think good thoughts – this situation could have been much worse had you not installed a new circuit breaker panel when you bought the house.

    When they install the new water heater add a hard wired battery backup smoker detector in the utility space if one does not already exist.

  10. Kathy wolfe

    As my grandmother would say “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

  11. Gemma

    Thank you, Suffolk’s finest! (Nice piece of equipment you’ve got there)!

    And yes, utilize the home warranty. That’s what it’s there for. I know I would.

  12. Sears Homes

    @Dale Wolicki
    Hi Dale,

    I’ve got a smoke detector in the basement about 20 feet from the water heater, but apparently the “blue haze” wasn’t enough to trip the detector.

  13. M. Burgess

    Ha! Ok, so I wasn’t the only one who tidied up before ringing the fire department!

  14. Rita Wilson

    Glad the source was found immediately and that you and your new home are safe.

    Our home warranty company is fantastic. Never ever had a problem with them and we have had some major difficulties where three rooms of tile flooring had to be removed because of collapsed copper piping which was used often in the 70s in Mississippi.

    At least we got new floors and pipes and it only cost us the $60 in deductible.

  15. Rita Wilson

    Oh, and yes, go gas rather than electric.

    We made that change and the savings in utility bills is enough to fund a lovely trip north each year.

  16. Dale Wolicki

    Just remember, you owe the fire department a basket of your famous homemade hazelnut cookies, but that’s assuming that the oven doesn’t try to take you out!