Yesterday afternoon I decided to bake a potato to go with my dinner. This would be the first time using the oven in this camper, and before I lit the pilot I notice a sheet of that rubber mesh non-slide stuff that RVers often use to keep things from sliding around in the cabinets. I removed it, and then stooped down with the fire starter in hand to light the pilot. I didn’t notice anything on the floor of the oven, but there must have been another rubber mat on the bottom, because in just a few minutes after I lit the pilot and closed the door, thick clouds of black smoke began pouring out. There was a strong chemical smell that burned my throat and lungs.
I opened the oven door and more smoke poured out, and I found the oven full of flames. I had visions of the camper and truck burning up within minutes. Remembering that Dave had left a little yogurt cup of baking soda in the fridge I threw the entire contents towards the flames and used a spatula to stir it around a little, and the flames went out. Lady stood at the door when we first noticed the smoke, and fortunately I had the door open with only the screen door latched, so we weren’t completely without air. It took a while being outside to finally be able to breathe again without the burning sensation in my throat and lungs. Now today I have to clean the mess up!
Between my recent fall and now this oven fire, I’m beginning to wonder what message I’m supposed to be getting. I want to figure it out quickly before something else happens. And dang, I still want my baked potato! I had even bought some shredded Tillamook cheddar to go on top of it.
The main reason for relating this incident is to stress the importance of having baking soda on hand, and in the most accessible place. I always had a box in my 5ver, but it often got shifted around with the baking supplies and spices, and might have taken longer to locate it and take action. I couldn’t have told you where the fire extinguisher was in my panic, and I have never used one so would have had to read instructions first. Baking soda doesn’t need instructions.
I swept some of the baking soda and residue from the oven, but much of the melted rubber is stuck. I’ll try scraping it when I get back to Sacramento, but I wonder if I will ever have the nerve to cook anything in it again.