There are some things which you think will never happen to you…like burning down your kitchen. Dear friends, it’s a scary thing and I pray that it never happens to any of you.

It was just a small pot with some cooking oil in it, I just wanted some spring rolls! Then, the phone rang, I had to go out to my room outside (separate from the house).

By the time I returned…the stove was ablaze, the rangehood was ablaze, the ceiling was starting to catch fire also. <Insert major freak-out here…> Called 000 (911 if you’re in the US), screamed for my sister to call my mum (her room is separate from the house also), and ran to the neighbour to ask if he had a fire extinguisher. No. Ran back to the house, neighbour ran over and suggested putting out the fire with the garden hose (by the way, generally not a good idea if a fire is oil based, but the oil had already burnt away and I’d managed to turn off the gas line). Put the fire out with garden hose and the fire brigade turned up and took control of the situation.

The entire house was filled with smoke, to be precise, about 30cm (1 ft) from-the-ceiling-down-thick smoke. The kitchen plastic light cover was melted. A couple of hotspots were found inside the roof and contained by the firemen. All the cobwebs in the house were revealed. Need I go on. Anyway, insurance company is now on the case and hopefully all will be well.

Make sure your smoke alarm is well-fitted and batteries fresh. Never leave a flame alone in a room. Turn off the fire if you need to leave the room. What more could be said? Don’t ever think, "I’ll just be a second…" it doesn’t take much.

[Edit: forgot to mention, I was due for a flight to Japan 4 hours after this happened.]