A very sad accident took place last night here in Rogers Park. A neighbor, a 64-year-old woman who lives at the Wayne Senior Apts. at 6928 N. Wayne (at Morse) was seriously burned when her nightgown became tangled up in her wheelchair when she was cooking. She stated that she panicked trying to free it, and caught it on fire.
She was found in her kitchen with the gown "melted" to her body, and suffered multiple 3rd-degree burns.
Please, neighbors, be alert to common fire hazards. We all get careless from time to time, and it only takes a couple of seconds to create a tragedy that changes your life forever.
Some of my own tips:
1. Be very careful around a gas stove. An old stove hooked to a corroding old pipeline can "flare up" suddenly, and catch your sleeve on fire. This happened to me once, and fortunately, I was wearing a heavy fabric that had been treated to be flame-resistant. Also, cooking oils and grease can catch fire if overheated. Keep a pan lid handy to snuff out a skillet fire. It goes without saying that you should not have dishtowels, window curtains, a roll of paper towels, or other cloth and paper close to your stove burners. Keep your stove hood or vent clean to prevent grease fires.
2. Synthetic fabrics, such as those most women's nightclothes are made of, catch fire easily and tend to "melt" on your body, causing really vicious burns.
3. Candles- if you like candles, make sure you have the candle in a stable holder. It's suggested you burn the big, solid pillar candles that don't tip over easily. Keep paper, cloth, and other flammable materials away from the candles.
4. Cigarettes and other smoking materials-the majority of house fires are still caused by careless smokers. Make sure you are sitting upright when you smoke. Never, ever smoke while lying down, because you can fall asleep too easily. Also, be careful with butane cigarette lighters, for many of the cheap plastic lighters can leak the butane and cause a fire.
5. If you smell gas, call the gas company, not your landlord. Most older rental buildings have old gas pipelines and old gas stoves that are more prone to this and to leaking gas.
6. Please, please, please don't light firepits and grills on your porch. It's illegal to grill on apartment building landings, with good reason. Be careful about grilling on a balcony, because you are very close to the building.