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Posts Tagged ‘flames’

I set myself on fire!

I often use a blowtorch in the kitchen: For lots of culinary reasons.

However, since changing the gas canister recently, I’ve not been able to get a steady flame. I replaced the canister once more but the same thing continued to occur – so I suspect that my ‘flame-unit’ is faulty.

Hey ho.

Knowing this, Sharon bought me a Colourworks KitchenCraft blowtorch, for Christmas. It’s a really cool blue, bijou design that doesn’t need a canister. Instead, it refills like a cigarette lighter, from a valve in the base.

Cool – so far.

Because I don’t always read instructions and often dive straight in, I waited until Boxing Day to open the new tool and to play with it. For once I DID READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, as I didn’t want any mishaps with it; well I wouldn’t, would I? What’s more, and this has nothing to do with the story, I also read the instructions for my new DAB radio too (despite needing Sharon to reinterpret them for me) – perhaps I’ve turned over a new leaf.

On the handle of the blowtorch, there’s a gas trigger that doubles as a spark creator and neither the trigger nor the spark can operate unless the user pulls down the gas release tap beneath the flame barrel – a two handed operation. Before use, you have to fill the handle with gas via the valve mentioned above and off you go. So, I did all that (as per instructions) – the blowtorch lit, and when I released the trigger the flame went out. Annoying, but understandable. So, then I tired again and got nothing. No sound of gas – nothing. I re-read the instructions and found I was doing everything correctly and had to assume that I hadn’t put enough gas in. So I filled it again.

This time when I pulled the trigger, the gas ignited and like before, went out when I released the trigger. All OK so far. Except, it wouldn’t light again – just like before. I therefore decided to wait half an hour before trying again, in case there was some sort of safety cut-off.

After half an hour it still wouldn’t light. Suspecting user incompetence, I tried refilling the handle again and this time the gas certainly did overflow (a sign that it was indeed full), so much so that it went all over the work surface and onto my shirt.

What happened next is a mystery, inasmuch as I don’t know what it was that ignited the overblown gas but within seconds the work surface was ablaze – as was I!

I’ve never been so frightened in my life. My shirt was on fire and I couldn’t put out the flames. I tried removing the shirt over my head but the top button was tightly fastened and by now I had begun to panic. Sharon had appeared in response to my alarmed shout and tried, also in vain, to get the shirt over my head. Luckily, my first attempt had extinguished the flames about my person but I could see the work surface burning behind us as Sharon shouted to make me get in the shower. The work surface went out (luckily again, only the over spilled gas had burned – everything else was fine) as I started to realise that my hands hurt and that my chest hairs were now much shorter and curlier! SHIT!!!

In the end I only had minor burns on four of my fingers and small areas on the back of my hands. They hurt today but haven’t blistered. I feel very lucky.

But what caused the flame and why the blowtorch wouldn’t light despite doing everything correctly? I’ve no idea.

The torch is obviously faulty, or it would have lit a second time (remember that on two occasions it lit once and then wouldn’t light again) and I wouldn’t have needed to try and refill.

I will now continue my search for a canister blowtorch – they seem (ARE!) much safer.

Any recommendations?

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