This morning, I took a work call over at Diana's, the neighbor's, so that I could use her wifi and have a good, strong signal. I was cold, and thrilled to notice a firestarter sitting on the table close to me. I figured, hey, I have a fireplace, I should use it.
After the meeting, I borrowed the firestarter, sent Diana a text I had it, and wandered back to the house.
The house has a new fireplace gas insert. Diana had mentioned last winter the fireplace was used as the only heat source for the house, so I was sure it was working. Walt had shown me how to turn everything on, so with the promise of a delightful heat source, I put my computer down and went over to the fireplace.
I turned the gas key about a quarter turn before realizing that I could really hear the gas, so I turned it back to an eighth turn, before stepping over to the fireplace. As I stepped over, I clicked on the firestarter, holding the starter on, and crouched down directly in front of the fireplace. I continued to hear the gas as I extended my arms.
Turns out, the gas had pooled under the pipes. When I reached out, the flame of the starter found that pool, and the whole thing flared.
As I crouched in front of the fireplace, the ball of fire rushed out at me. I blinked. When I opened my eyes, I saw the hair hanging outside of my hat had caught on fire. I jumped up, threw down the firestarter, and started patting down my hair to extinguish my burning hair. I thought, "Huh, I wonder if my sweater is going to catch on fire," as I continued to flatten my hair in hopes of putting it out. I had most of my hair under my hat, having just come in from outside, which was a good thing.
Shortly, my hair fire was out. I looked around.
The fireplace had a nice fire going. Nothing else was on fire. Okay then. How am I?
My eyes felt weird, so I went into the bathroom to look. Turns out, I had burned off my eyelashes.
After taking a few pictures, I went back to the living room, turned off the gas fireplace, noticed I couldn't tell if there was a fog in the living room because I had just burned 1/4 of my hair off my head, or if I had damaged my eyes. I panicked for a bit, gathered myself, made a couple calls, then packed up my stuff, and drove to the closest urgent care clinic that I knew about.
Things are okay. My eyes are fine. Keep them wet, have them checked out again tomorrow to see if there are any missed issues. I restarted the fire in the fireplace, turning the key maybe a 16th turn and standing way off to the side to start the fireplace. Diana later commented that the fireplace needs either wood or ceramic logs. Whoops. Another cost. Great.