Monday, July 28, 2014

I Wasn't Born Yet

I live in a house that turned 100 this year. Its old lumber is thick, dry and full of resin.  A fire would be difficult to stop, so when a few years ago I smelled electrical smoke, I called the fire department.  I searched for the source as I waited for the Fire Department and found it. The dining room chandelier was on and smelling.  I cut the power to the chandelier and waited.

A fire truck pulled up in front of the house.  Firefighters, all young men, hurried in.  They checked the chandelier, then scurried up the attic ladder and examined the area above the fixture.  They returned with reassuring news.  There was no fire in the attic, my greatest fear.

"We need to check that attic wiring and the chandelier to be sure that the problem is in the fixture," a young fireman told me.  He headed out to the truck.

He returned with the news that there was no voltmeter on the fire truck.  I offered the use of mine.  He declined, telling me they were required to use the Fire Department's voltmeter. He called the fire station and requested the voltmeter.

Five minutes later another fire truck arrived with the voltmeter and a full complement of firemen, most of whom came into the house to join the study of my dining room ceiling and chandelier.  I wondered what my neighbors thought of two fire engines at my home.  I was sure there would plenty of calls when the firefighters left.  I was correct.

With their voltmeter in hand, the firefighters returned to the attic. All was fine with the wiring.  The young fireman checked the chandelier and determined that one socket was bad.  To ensure safety, he removed the chandelier and capped the bare wires.

As he handed the fixture to me, he said, "Probably old wiring, ma'am, your home is pretty old."

I  shook my head.  "The house  was built in 1914, but I had the lighting fixtures rewired when we remodeled the house in 1979."

The young fireman looked at me and said,  " I wasn't born yet,.".

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