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2002 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next Prev Random


The Barbequed Chef
2002 Personal Account

(August 2002, Ontario, Canada) I was attempting to light my new barbecue lighter, when I discovered that my lighter -- a long stick with a click button -- was out of fluid. I took it to the laundry room, and filled it over the water basin. I later discovered that I was using the wrong type of fluid, but that's part of another story.

I decided to test it, figuring the flame would be at least 8" from any fuel on my hand. What I hadn't figured was the effect of the flame on the stream of fuel leaking down to the tip of the lighter. When I clicked the button, to my astonishment, my whole hand caught on fire.

I hollered, "Oh, darn!" (Or words to that effect.) Having one's hand on fire is neither relaxing nor calming, and I must have flinched, thereby squeezing more fuel from the container in my other hand, engulfing my already-burning hand in a ball of flames.

At this point, I dropped everything into the basin, igniting the whole shebang: the lighter, the canister of fuel, and some dust mites. I exclaimed, "Oh, darn!" And I began to become quite concerned.

I tried to smother the flames on my hand by clapping, but just lit the other hand on fire, too. I hit the floor and tried the standard Stop Drop and Roll technique, but that doesn't work well on a concrete floor. I eventually extinguished my hands with a nearby floor mat, thereby leaving them free to deal with a growing concern...

The laundry basin was completely engulfed in flames. I was trapped by indecision. Should I run for a gigantic box of baking soda, or would water put it out? That's when I made the worst decision of the day.

I cranked on the water taps over the basin.

Lighter fluid and water do not, in fact, mix. Now I had fast-moving liquid flames to deal with! Luckily, it turned out that turning the taps on full allowed the water to "outnumber" the fire, which was eventually put out.

At that point, I made the smartest decision of all. After those 30 seconds of excitement were over, I took off my wedding ring. This served two purposes: It did not get stuck to my finger while it swelled and blistered, and it kept the world from knowing that my wife had actually married such an idiot!

And now to share with you an important safety tip I learned during this experience: When you do catch on fire, don't yell, "Oh, darn!" Instead, yell, "Fire!!! HOLY S**T I'm f**king on fire!!!" This sends a clear message to your wife that all is not well. © 1994 - 2020
Submitted by: Andrew Butters

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