It was an unexpectedly warm and sunny Christmas day after a week of rain. Although we had a white Thanksgiving, no such luck for Christmas here in NH this year. From what I’ve read we should have been in Hawaii instead.
A warm day at home and in our hearts, with family and lots of cooking. But there were also other sparks flying – from the lighting fixtures and the candles. My husband tried to brighten up the living room by replacing a light bulb in our 1930’s art deco chandelier. I was in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner when suddenly a flash of white light filled the house with the tune of an unmistakable hissing and crackling accompanied by the smell of electric fire.
My heart stopped but my feet ran as I thought my husband had been electrocuted. He stood staring up at the smoke coming out of the light socket with a puzzled look on his face and a light bulb at the end of his outstretched arm. I said, “You didn’t try to put a bulb in with the lights on , did you?” “Well, yes”, he replied as he went to flip the light switch on and off. Nothing happened except the smoke continued to stream down.
By this time everyone was in the room having also experienced the flash, the smell and the sound from other rooms in the house. My son and husband went to the basement to check the fuse box while my daughter and I checked other outlets. Only the ceiling lights were out so she and I went back to cooking.
Then another hiss, crackle, pop, light and smoke sent my daughter running to save her laptop from the sparks flying out of the chandelier again. I yelled down to the basement, “flip the switch off and leave it off!” Thank God for circuit breakers or our house would have caught on fire. My daughter cleaned up ashes as I inspected how the sparks had damaged the wood floor.
The tree continued to sparkle brightly, as our digital fireplace (courtesy of Netflix) crackled along with Christmas tunes. Suddenly the clouds outside parted, sunshine and warmth streamed through the windows giving enough brightness to replace the lack of ceiling light. My daughter rounded up lamps and candles from the attic as darkness would soon descend.
We were able to finish preparing the dinner and we celebrated with the ambiance of table lamps and candles after dusk. An evening of family warmth, everything was fine.
Until later that night while cleaning up from the evenings festivities. I was washing some dishes when I heard my daughter cry, “Oh no, help!” from the dining room. I smelled smoke again and heard my husband trying frantically to assist her in putting out a fire. One of the soy candles on the dining room table had burnt down until the tin caught on fire melting the placemat beneath it. It burnt a ring on the wood dining table before they managed to put it out by placing a bowl over it.
What a lovely Christmas we had, everyone pulling together to to avoid disasters and make a festive celebration right to the end!
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