I'm pretty excited to be getting a new dishwasher installed today. I was perfectly happy with my old one and never had a complaint about it until it burst into flames on Christmas night. After a very full and happy day we said goodnight to my family at about 9:45. As is my habit I started the dishwasher and looked forward to falling into bed. I hadn't been sleeping well, or enough, in several days. Erik mentioned that he'd like to finish a movie we'd started and I agreed. I knew I'd regret it come morning, but for some reason I didn't really feel tired. We finished our movie around 11 and got ready for bed. Erik was in the back of the house and I was turning out the lights in the front rooms while brushing my teeth. Suddenly I heard some popping noises from the kitchen and looked over to see sparks and flames coming from underneath the dishwasher! I called franticly to Erik who came running out and saw what was going on. He knew in a second it was an electrical fire and ran to the breaker box to shut off the power. I ran out the door to ask our neighbors for a fire extinguisher (which we've talked about getting several times but had never gotten around to. We have now though!) By the time I got back he'd gotten the fire out. I'm so thankful to have a husband who knows what to do in situations like this.
We were both pretty shaken up and extremely thankful that God had protected our family and our home. The house was filled with toxic-smelling smoke from melted plastic and I realized that the fire alarm had never gone off. If we'd have gone to bed just a few minutes earlier, or an hour earlier when I'd wanted to, much of our home could have burned before we even knew there was a fire. God had allowed us to be up and me to be standing where I could see it right when it happened and the only damage done was to the dishwasher. We are praising Him for watching over us, and for letting this happen so that we could see some of the areas we can make our home safer. We realized there was no smoke alarm in the main part of the house, only in the back of the hallway and in the bedrooms as required by law, so we went and bought another one. This also gave us the kick-in-the-pants we needed to go buy some fire extinguishers. And we will be careful not to run appliances after going to bed or when we're not at home.
It makes me wonder how often we come near to injury or even death and are saved by God's intervention without being aware of it. We may never know all the times He saves us, and all the little things He may use to make sure we're where we are at any given moment- even things like a silly martial arts movie! We do know that He and His angels are watching over us, but it's actually a blessing to have been through this and to be reminded of His great care for us.
(Here's the rest of the story: We called Maytag the next morning and reported what had happened. The Maytag man came out to assess the damage and confirmed that it was irreparable. The corporate office contacted us and offered to come take out the old dishwasher and give us a check for $150. I asked if that was the best they could do and expressed some surprise that given the potential damage and their excellent reputation they wouldn't offer us something more. I asked if eight years was the average life expectancy of a Maytag dishwasher (since we'd be in the market for a new one) and also noted that there was a full 20-year warranty against tub leaks due to normal home usage. This was normal home usage and our tub had certainly developed a leak! The woman asked what I wanted them to do for us and made it sound like they were already being generous. I said we'd like them to replace the dishwasher and without a moment's hesitation she told me to go online and pick out the model I wanted and they'd have it installed! It made me realize that she was doing just what she'd been trained to do- offer a small "compensation prize" and hope I'd be satisfied with it. But when I wasn't, she moved on to plan B. I was glad I pressed it a bit! The new dishwasher is being installed right now.)
Again, we are very, very thankful to God for protecting us and for providing a new dishwasher.