Hello, is this the Fire Department?

My junior year of college, I lived in my sorority house. There were nine of us in the house. Every Sunday night, was chore night. There was a chore wheel and each week everyone in the house was assigned a chore for the week.

This particular week, the only eventful chore night, my assignment was the kitchen. So I did my thing. And in my younger days, I sprayed Fantastic directly into the stove top. Some steam came out and then there was a funny smell.

I went to tell the house ‘mom’ – a dear friend of mine to this day – and couldn’t stop laughing. She called the Fire Department and this is the phone call, as I remember it:

House mom – Hello. I live at [address] and we’ve had an incident. There was Fantastic sprayed into the stove top and now there’s a bit of a smell. Is this a problem?

I was not on the phone, so I do not know what the reply was but can imagine because this is the rest of what we had heard…

No, really, it’s not an emergency.


Really. It’s not an emergency.


Um. Ok.

Hangs up the phone and screams “Evacuate!”

Which most of us promptly did. Except another one of my friends had just gotten out of the shower as the phone call was happening. She said that there was no way she was going outside in a towel, and without any makeup if firemen were coming over. Sidenote: It’s so funny because now, she’s one of my most responsible friends.

The Fire Department came. We lived on a main road, so they parked the truck, lights and all, on our front lawn, suited up and went inside. We were all standing on the lawn waiting for the go-ahead to go back inside. But this being a main street, and it being a small town, this was huge news, and we saw plenty of people we knew drive by. 

I think the pilot light had gone out but everything else was fine. I think I got off kitchen duty the rest of the year though.


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