On Friday I had an unplanned emergency at my home. I survived a natural gas fireplace explosion.
What happened was that I saw that my homes downstairs gas fireplace pilot light was lit, switch was turned on, but the fire flames of the gas fireplace were not operating. So I went to investigate closer out of curiosity and also for safety reasons to see what was happening. After checking a few things out, I heard the gas valve make the sound that it was opening to release a larger amount of gas to make the flames of gas fireplace. The pilot light was still lit.
After maybe thirty-forty seconds I had a last second thought of what if this explodes, it did just then in what seemed like slow motion. It blew me across the entire family room. When I realized what had happened and came to some of my senses after being knocked silly, I ran for the stairs to call my wife who after hearing and feeling the blast downstairs was already on her way down. What my wife found at the bottom of the stairs was a bloody mess of a person (me). I had glass from the fireplace stuck in me as well as had cut me and then singed hair and burns. My shirt was scorched and cut up and my eye glasses were blown apart with only half remaining on my face. With all the blood from my face and unable to open my left eye, I thought for sure I had lost my eye. There was a great deal of firemen and paramedics that arrived within about the longest five minutes of my life. They were figuring out whether to helicopter me to the hospital or transport me in a rescue ambulance. I ended up in one hospital to only be transferred to another with a larger trauma unit. After a great deal of work on me, a bunch of morphine, medical tests, and some stitches I was amazingly allowed to go back home after 6 hours.
The downstairs was full of glass and the fireplace metal bent outwards. It was amazing I survived and better me than one of my children having been the one to test the fireplace. There was glass embedded in the walls twenty five feet from the fireplace and located behind me. I had been standing only four feet in front of the fireplace when it exploded.
I believe that I was close enough the half inch thick fireplace glass cover that the glass was coplanar to me in flight instead of perpendicular like spears. Perhaps had I been further from the exploding glass, the glass shards would have hit me like a wave of spears and I might not be here today. I was also lucky to have been wearing my glasses which saved my eyes and instead of loosing an eye or two. My eye glasses were blown into the bridge of my nose causing a deep laceration. I had a large tear in my shirt from glass but my chest was not hit but we found the Blackberry phone in my pocket took the blast of glass with a little damage but still is working and had prevented glass from hitting my chest. Yes my trusted Blackberry may have saved me, at least from further glass hitting me in the chest. I have several cuts and minor burns and pieces of glass under my skin, but survived and was really lucky.
I lost another of my nine lives Friday and am truly lucky to be here blogging and with my family. My neighbors have been beyond amazing bringing dinners over for the past two evenings and checking in on us to make sure we were fine and if we needed any assistance I also received a ton of phone calls, Twitter tweets, and emails from people wishing me well. I even received flowers one nice arrangement from my Autodesk Team.I am only really sore from the blast force and cuts and stitches, bruised, had my hair and beard trimmed the fast way, and shaken up, but starting to recover just fine.
If you have gas appliances, please make sure to have them inspected and serviced once a year to prevent a serious problem. I could have easily lost my house, and my children and family could have lost me.
I have more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday...
PS: Yes, I will be at Autodesk University no matter what.