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.
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.
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.
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.