There are some moments that are so horrifying and outcomes so indefinite it only seems appropriate that they be perceived to be occurring in slow motion, because you couldn't possibly take it in at real time speed. Car wrecks, kids falling off the play structures, and of course, fires in your kitchen. When I (with baby on hip) discovered smoke billowing out into the living room and saw the three-foot flame licking the hood above the stove, it all felt horrendously slow, the moment couldn't be over quickly enough.
I hesitate to share this experience because it was very scary and happened to be all my fault, very embarrassing, and in a house that I don't own. I feel I can share because all is out in the open with the owners and I can quite happily say most of the damages are totally repaired to their original state or better thanks to a very kind and supportive husband who never once made me feel any worse about my mistake.
A quick summary, I put oil in the pan to fry up tortillas for migas (maybe not relevant for a quick summary, but food's always important even if not relevant. Have you every tried migas? Yum. But not worth lighting your kitchen on fire.) I turned on the stove. At the moment I turned the knob, Robby woke up crying in his bedroom. The fact that I had turned on the stove didn't register in my brain as I was then thinking about Robby, so I went back to calm him and I was having a great time playing with him in his room when I suddenly heard our fire alarm and I knew immediately I was in trouble. Unattended heating oil ignited into an opulent 3-foot flame in my kitchen. As soon as I saw the flame I doubled back and put robby in his crib, shut the door and then proceeded to handle that fire while Robby returned to crying. I put on a oven mitt, picked up the skillet and took it outside. At this point I imagine my neighbors were quite concerned at the sight of me wielding a burning skillet. But then, miraculously, the flame surrendered to my fire extinguishing prowess and went out. All I did was walk outside and it retired.
As I returned to the kitchen and assessed the damage, I was overcome. The cupboards surrounding the stove were black as night, the ceiling was the same. The hood was almost unrecognizable and the control panel for the oven totally warped. After scrubbing off most of the soot from the cupboard fronts, back splash/tile area, and counters, it wasn't nearly as dismal a situation as I originally thought.
We learned oodles about home repair through this process. We got to:
1. Repaint ceilings/walls in the kitchen and entry way.
2. Remove the old hood and install a new one
3. Remove the old stove and oven, install a new one
4. Clean alot!
Here are some before, during, and after shots
NO "after" shot on this one, as when I went take one, my camera broke. I didn't light it on fire, it just broke. You'll just have to trust that it looks way better.