firestarterAs we were preparing dinner, oven roasted salmon with new potatoes, I turned on the amazing gas oven.  Cooking with gas somehow makes food much nicer, or perhaps it’s just us thinking it’s a nicer flavour than more conventional electric ovens.

The LED display on the oven shows the temperature and how it slowly climbs to the destination altitude, but for some reason the oven went from cold to warm very fast.  Much faster than usual, and  some smoke started to develop from the vent.

I opened the door, which most backdraft experienced people would warn you against, only to be greeted with a ginormeous ball of thick smoke, quickly covering the kitchen ceiling.  It was a nasty smell and clearly something was burning and I wondered if we had left an old pizza box in the oven or if food had dripped on oven floor.  Either way, I decided to quickly turn off the oven and cool it off so I could examine it.

To my utter surprise, the flames did not die.  On the contrary.  They kept going, but from below the oven floor, where the gas flames live!

I had to act quickly now and jumped to get the fire extinguisher, pointed it at the flames and let the dust/foam kill the flames.  Thankfully this killed the flames of Udun, and put the fire breather back in its cage.

BackdraftI can calmly say that our smoke detectors work.  They were screaming / beeping while I was frantically trying to get the smoke out of the house, using all the fans in the house and all windows/doors wide open.

After the oven had cooled off significantly, I decided to put on my daddy DIY hat and see if I could somehow fix the oven.  First step was clearly washing down the entire unit inside as the foam / powder had left a thin layer all over.

Please note, I'm not a natural born DIY genius!

As I had removed the worst of the dust, I gently unscrewed the vent fan cover and removed the oven floor tray to expose the gas pipes, trying to use my best fire investigator skills.  Low and behold, I found the cause of the unnatural fire.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, had carefully inserted ‘gold fish‘ crackers and dog food into the little vents in the oven floor tray, which in turn created small piles of perfectly stacked fire sources, and once they got hot enough they simply kept burning.

When I asked the potential fire starter, she blankly refuted the accusations and instead blamed her stuffed rabbit in a pink tutu dress.  She even rolled her eyes and seriously questioned my motive for asking her if she had done such a heinous crime.  Btw, she’s four years old!

I removed a large bowl full of burned ‘gold fresh’ and charcoal dog food, and spent the next two hours scrubbing down the oven.  To make it worse, the ben was still warm and it was probably early 80’s outside, so the sweat was starting to drip off my forehead and masculine chest.

The oven was shinning as if new.  I was actually proud of my cleaning skills, but it was time to see if the oven would even work.

I selected the oven temperature, clicked start and stepped back a few steps – just in case.

To my surprise, the oven seemed to work fine, although it was steaming a fair bit, but that was to be expected as I had just cleaned it with water.

Step 6 in my cleaning process was to do what I had never done before.  Use the self-clean function on the oven.   I had no idea what to expect or how long it would take, but it had to be done.

As I kicked off the automated process, the oven door locked and timer started.  Four hours!

What I didn’t know or expect was that the cleaning process actually involves extreme temperatures in the oven to convert old food into ashes, which in turn causes increased smoke … again!  And again my smoke detectors passed the test.

Now I just have to wait another 3 hours until the process is cleaning, so might as well put on Lord of the Rings.

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