A Smokey Evening

The burnt Potato baking bag
The burnt potato baking bag.

The other night I was fixing my supper. I placed a pre-wrapped sweet potato on a quilted cloth (designed to put around a potato to help cook it in the microwave). I cooked one side of the potato for 3-4 minutes as per the directions. Since the potato was hot, I lifted one corner of the pad to flip the potato over and then to center it on the pad to cook it for another 3-4 minutes. A little condensation from the plastic landed on the corners of the pad when I flipped it over but I went ahead and cooked the other side of the potato for the last 3-4 minutes.

About 2 and a half minutes after I restarted the cooking, I started smelling smoke from my bedroom up the hall. Earlier I heard on the news that the weather was going to be in the 40’s, so I went outside to see if someone had started a fire in their fireplace in another neighborhood, which some do in winter. There was no smell of smoke outside.

The following is a picture of the cloth used to cook the potato in.

Quickly, I came back inside, and I realized the smoke was coming from my kitchen. Sure enough, there was an accumulation of smoke in the kitchen and starting down the hall to my bedroom! The microwave was the only thing that had been on, so I looked and there was smoke in the microwave. I grabbed tongs to pull out the potato on the padded square cloth and found there were two opposite corners of the cloth smoldering with red embers! I quickly picked it up with tongs and tossed it into the sink. I turned on the water quickly to put the little potential little fires out. I left the soggy pad in the sink for an hour to be sure the fire was out before I transferred it to a plastic grocery bag before throwing it into the trash can. That was about 6 PM.

It took 2 hours with the two air purifiers going on turbo, two ceiling fans on high, and an open door to my screened in porch, the vent fans in both bathrooms going wide open and of course the microwave vent and range fans going full blast to decrease the smokey air. There was little smoke that I could see after a couple of hours but the smell lingered.

Finally, I used some spray air freshener liberally and that helped a lot. It’s a miracle that the smoke alarm didn’t go off but the smoke was not really thick just “very present.” The smell lingered for two days in the hallway by the kitchen. I still don’t understand why the two opposite corners caught fire. The only thing I can figure out is there was something on my hands that transferred to the corners when I touched the pad to turn it over. But I had just come from the bedroom, so I still don’t know what started the fire in the microwave.

So what did I learn from my smokey evening? If you are cooking something and you smell smoke, go check what you are cooking first and don’t make assumptions.

12 thoughts on “A Smokey Evening

  1. oh, my! glad you and your house are okay. I do sweet potatoes in the micro too, but just take one, poke holes in it with a fork, put it on a plate for 4-6 minutes depending on the size and it’s done. less to catch on fire )

    Liked by 1 person

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