I Hate the Smell of Burning Hair, Especially My Own

United States
December 5, 2008 9:28am CST
Last summer the gas company put a new meter on our house. They of course shut off the gas. So the next day they came in to re-light all our pilot lights. Well we only have one to light, the water heater. The furnace's thermal coupling hasn't worked in a couple of years. It isn't used anyway except when it gets extremely cold and I fear the pipes will freeze, which is only about 10 days out of the winter. When it's needed I go downstairs and light the furnace manually. Otherwise we use electric heaters. Ok so the guy from the gas company asked me about the furnace and I told him that we don't use it. He tested it for gas leaks, no leaks. Then he proceeded to shut off the gas line! I didn't want him to do that but I also didn't want him to refuse to turn the gas back on because of a defective furnace so I kept my mouth shut. I knew that would come back to bite me on the butt. I woke up early this morning and MAN is was COLD, only 5 degrees outside!! I figured I better go light the furnace to keep the basement pipes from freezing. I turned the gas line back on. Knowing that there would be air in the line I turned the manual switch on and let the air out of line til I smelled gas, then shut it off. I waited a minute for the gas to dissipate. I lit a long wood stick turned the switch on and lit it like I always do. Next thing I know there is a wooosh and a 3 ft tall fireball in my face! Uggh I hate the smell of burning hair. Thank goodness I had my glasses on and my hair pulled back. But it singed my eyebrows a bit and the peachfuzz hair on my face and neck. I have no hair at all on my left hand or wrist. I also feel like I have a sunburn on my hand and my face. Nothing serious just a minor flash burn. It could have a lot worse. Now if I had had my second cup of coffee this morning I would have realized that because of how this old furnace (30 yrs old) is built and where it sits I actually needed to fan the area to dissipate the gas. But NOOOOO I was cold and in a hurry. I don't make a habit of being an idiot but I qualified this morning! So go ahead... say it. Ever have a furnace blow up in your face?
4 people like this
13 responses
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
6 Dec 08
yes I have and it did the same to me swinged all the hair up the arm I light it with some hair nor much and my face felt sunburned. It was in a rented place so guess I should have not been handy and had himlight it instead. BUt hck I had lit plenty of them before and since lol hugs
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
I've been lighting this one manually for a couple of years how with no problem. If that guy hadn't shut the line off it wouldn't have happened. He should have just left it alone! He comes into my house and start messing with my stuff... ugh never again. Thanks hon ((hugs))
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
6 Dec 08
I know ya just leave my stuff alone! the way it was think I would call them and tell them what happend satisfy your mind that ya told them off lol hugs
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
I did not have a furnace blow up in my face, but I had a wok do just that in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant when we were opening up in the morning.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
Too much oil in your wok there KK? Grease fires are pretty wicked. They don't go out easily or quickly. You ok?
• United States
6 Dec 08
Someone turned on the flame before the pilot light was lit. There was no oil in the wok yet. I have seen it happen with oil though. The solution was to just grab a wok cover & cover it.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15241)
• United States
5 Dec 08
No, but there was a kid in my grade school who was playing in the furnace while his parents were away and he blew himself up. He was lucky he didn't lose an eye or worse. I am so sorry that you got hurt, grrrl, but also glad you are going to be OK as it could have been all over for you. Get well fast, and please be careful. You are precious and there is only one of you, I think!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
Thank you Ann, you're so sweet to be concerned. Fortunately my pride is the only thing that hurts. The flash burn is already down to almost nothing. It'll be gone by tomorrow afternoon I'm sure. I should have a very nice exfoliation in few days though. I'll look 5 yrs younger and cheaper than a chemical peel. Sometimes you just have to look at the bright side. I will definitely be more careful and tell the gas company guy to keep his hands off my furnace next time. If he hadn't shut the line off this wouldn't have happened. Yep, there's only one of me. I don't think the world could handle two of me!!
• China
6 Dec 08
There were the worse thing to hear of that two guys blowing up their faces in the same time and the same way if you are not the only one of you under the sun.But l would laugh aloudy first for this funny coincidence,waaaaaaa..^_^
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
I am glad you are ok! I will admit I had to laugh, though. I have never had anything blow up in my face. I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to gas appliances. I did turn the gas up too high when I was lighting a burner, once. Singed my eyebrows and the hair around my forehead. Sheesh, I really am glad you didn't blast yourself back upstairs!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
Actually that was my initial reaction too. I just stood there and laughed at my own stupidity. Until I smelled the burning hair then I ran back upstairs to check myself in the mirror. What a relief that I didn't lose too much!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
I think I would still be shaking and in shock!
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
6 Dec 08
Hahahaha. I guess it's ok for me to laugh because no-one was actually hurt badly right? You can maybe tell your neighbours that you were trying to recreate the sun in your home or something as that would definitely explain the fireball! When I was in science class in High School in the mid 80's, we had a very strict Teacher and when he said to put everything down and eyse front, well, you had better do it pronto! My friend Oliver was actually in the middle of trying to light a bunsen burner at the time, but of course he too stopped everything to face the front like everyone else was. But he didn't flick the switch to turn off the gas on the bunsen burner did he! Thankfully, the Teacher spoke for all of a minute and back we all turned to continue what we are doing. It was at this point that Oliver lit another match to light the bunsen burner...... WHOOOOOOOOMMMMMFFF! There was this massive fireball that lasted all of a split second at best, but poor old Oliver was minus two eyebrows and his jumper had all these little wisps of smoke coming off it! It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen to be honest and no-one in this instance was hurt either so how could we not be wetting ourselves? As for me, the closest I come is with the gas range stove top and singeing my arm hairs every now and then.....
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
Hi James, ya it's ok to laugh. I did! I stood there for about 10 seconds laughing after it happened until I smelled my hair burning. Then I ran upstairs to see what got singed. I was hoping I didn't lose my eyebrows! I didn't.. whew.. just a little off the ends. One of the few times I've been grateful that I wear glasses. Your friend was so lucky he only lost his eyebrows! I'm afraid I would have had to laugh at that myself as long as no one got hurt. That Whoooommmf is such a bizarre sound, nothing else like it!
1 person likes this
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
6 Dec 08
Thankfully, NO! I don't even have a memeory of ever having to light one. I do remember as a kid having to light the oven and stove all the time. But I don't think we ever got burnt from it. I'm glad you are ok! You are so lucky, it could have been much worse!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
Thanks reinydawn, I definitely was very lucky. Lesson learned.. the hard way!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
i havent had that happen but i have smelled burnt hair and it is a horrible smell!! the worst i think
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 08
It smell definitely smacks you on the nose, like a rolled up newspaper!
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Wow, I am so glad that you're ok. That's really scary, especially when you think about how bad it could have been. I have never had a furnace blow up in my face like that, but I had a very similar experience with our gas grill this past summer. The grill was old and the two burners inside wouldn't always light. So I closed the lid with the gas running, opened the lid, hit the ignition switch and WHOOSH! Yeah. I hate the smell of hair burning too. I burnt off hair, eyebrows, eyelashes. Yuck. And the smell stayed with me for days. I hope you recover soon!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
Hi Rowantree! Good to see you. Boy oh boy that flammable gas is nothing to mess with. I'll never forget that WHOOOOOSH either. What a nasty sound! I didn't lose quite as much hair as you did. I had my glasses on, my hair pulled back and long sleeves on. I know what you mean, I can't get the smell out of my nose. I haven't checked yet but I may have singed a few nostril hairs as well. Kind of kills the appetite doesn't it! Thanks so much for the concern, I really appreciate it. The flash burn is going down fast. Should be pretty well gone by tomorrow afternoon I'd say. It doesn't even burn anymore, just itches a little now. I'm sure neither of us will be doing it again any time soon. Lesson learned!
5 Dec 08
Hi crafcatcher, Ohhhh, that was so dangerous, you could have been a lot worse, I don't like to fiddle with anything to do with gas, I will just leave for the experts to deal with it, please don't do that again. Tamara
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
Thanks Tamara! Unfortunately the "expert" was the cause of this problem. If he had left that gas line alone this wouldn't have happened. I knew when he shut it off that it would be a problem later. My prediction was correct!
@ycanteye (770)
• United States
5 Dec 08
Sure don't sound like a pleasant way to start your morning. Glad you're ok and it wasn't any worse. Fortunately I've never had that happen.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 08
Thanks. It was rude awakening! Not exactly how I expected to start my day.
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
12 Dec 08
Happily, no, I'm so afraid of fire I'm very careful My new ac/heater unit - not so new now - about 15 yrs old, had an electronic ignition, so does my range so the only pilot is my water heater.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Dec 08
I hope you are fine now the thing when that happens is you have to worry about burning your nose and the hairs inside your nose and getting smoke inhalation/burn in your lungs. I advise that the next time if this happens again you should go be checked out at the ER. I hope you are warm now we have another cold spell coming we may get snow tonight which we never get snow we are at sea level and usually do not get snow in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California. Stay safe my friend
• United States
15 Dec 08
Thanks tea! I'm fine now. No damage other than a few hairs missing. We had a real wicked cold spell move in last night. It was only 3 degrees and solid ice outside when I got up this morning. Three of the car doors were frozen shut and poor hubby had to climb thru the back door to get the car started! I went down to light the furnace and thankfully no repeat fireball this time! Now that all the air is out of the line it's back to normal.
@liisafiat (660)
• Latvia
20 Dec 08
Oh my...So terrifying story! Burning hairs...hmm, have not happened with me for a long time. Last time it was when I was a kid and I was too close to the candle, and the fire `catched` my hair and started to do its horrifying work. But it ended very quickly. And since them I am very careful with fire!