No Spark in our Bedroom

When John came home from three days of playing with trains, we had dinner and sat at the table catching up on news. We may have been in the kitchen area for a couple of hours while a storm was raging outside. I walked to the bedroom, flipped a switch, and nothing happened. Did I hit the one for the ceiling fan and not the light? No! Neither worked. I took two steps further into the room and was assailed by a strong burning smell. Yelling for John, I rushed to unplug the computers. With light from the office and the bathroom, we felt everything to see if anything was hot. Nothing was. Our first thought in panic was neighbor Bob. He graciously left his company and came to our rescue.

042517 Outlet that smelled burned.jpg
Stench, but no evidence of fire

The situation was puzzling. Nothing seemed to be damaged, but there was no electricity in the room at all. The stench remained. Bob promised to work on it the next day. Would you have slept in the room? I didn’t want to burn up, but I also didn’t want a fire breaking out with no one to notice. We left the door open between the bedroom and the office where John was working. I slept in the bed. I suppose I opted to die sooner rather than later, in an immediate fire rather than a delayed one. Imagine my joy when I woke up alive the next morning.

Bob and Logan brought over a bunch of tools. Logan and I played while Bob and John pulled all the furniture away from the outlets. They traced wires, went in the attic to see how the lines were laid, and tested all kinds of things. Six hours later when everyone was famished, Shawn came over, and we brought in pizza. Since the house hadn’t burned down in 24 hours, we partied. It felt odd to sleep in a room with everything slightly displaced.

042517 Checking all outlets and smoke alarm.jpg
Smoke detector and switches hanging loose

An electrician, a friend of Bob’s, came the next morning. The fellows pointed out the receptacle where the strong smell was, and he asked, “Is there a socket on the outside wall?”

He stepped onto the deck and pulled out the charred remains on the other side. There was a scorch mark on the wall where the flame had been. It took only minutes for him to replace the mess.

042517 Bob and John watch Paul repair burned outlet.jpg
Bob and John watch the electrician repair the box.  My computer sits just inside.

That should have been it, but it took hours more to restore the power. The expert was baffled about the way the lines were organized. Evidently, a modular house is put together in a different way from a site-built home. He did a work-around of some sort, and we had power again. As to the cause, we think the driving rain may have gotten into the box, causing wires to short out and catch on fire.

38 thoughts on “No Spark in our Bedroom

  1. I agree with Ellie, That was a really smoldering title you gave it. I’m glad you found it and could repair it. Certainly glad your safe.
    Your title reminded me instantly of something I saw not long ago. A quote said, “My boyfriend says the spark has gone out of our relationship, so I Tazed him. I’ll ask him again when he wakes up.”

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  2. Too funny. Loved the title. Be careful though, as I’ve read that modular homes tend to have that issue. I hope you had your friend check other areas as well. Did he check for hot spots? It might bear looking into anyway. Glad you’re safe. I think I would have done the same thing. Let me be in the spot so I can get out of Dodge quickly if I need to.

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  3. This sounds like a super scary experience. You are braver than I am to sleep in that room. So glad you got the problem fixed. Cousin Jane

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  4. Glad to hear the spark is back! You may want to talk to your electrician friends about possibly ground faulting that circuit. It is simply switching out one of the outlets in the circuit and replacing it with a GFI (ground fault interrupt) outlet. It is usually like a $10 and 10 minute job.

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    1. Our neighbors are THE BEST!!! The situation could have been worse. John has been away a lot recently, and I could have had to handle it by myself. I’m really glad he was here.

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  5. Oh Anne…. I’m so relieved… at first I thought the ‘spark’ that burned out was going to be personal. 😉
    We have also had half our house go dark. And also it was due to an outside fixture. And also half of our house had to be rearranged in the process of finding the problem. And also Mr.P’s brother is an electrician… SCORE!!! Glad you again can see the light. 🙂

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    1. Our little fire was a bit of excitement we could have lived without. That’s something that you had to make a mess to find your solution, too. It’s good to know who to call when things go wrong. The power went out in our neighborhood this afternoon because of a severe wind and rain storm. I could text a neighbor who was working in town, and she called the electric company. We have power back now.

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  6. That is way to scary Anne! Whenever I smell things that smell like wires burning my husband and I walk around the house sniffing like a pair of blood hounds! We don’t ever seem to find anything but with our old farm house we are always on the alert.
    I cannot believe I am behind on your blog! It is not showing up in my wordpress feed! I hate when that happens.

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