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The news today had a story of a beautiful house that burned. The local police chief said the fire was hottest in an area where there was a TV and computers, and he is ruling it an accidental electrical fire.

It feels like the shadow of a personal alternate history at the moment.

You see, when I woke up, the snakes' terrarium was dark. This isn't good--reptiles are cold-blooded, and we use heat lamps to avoid burning their skin since they don't have the reflexes to get off the nice warm spot if it gets too hot. My first thought was that a fuse had blown. Several trips up and down the stairs from second floor to basement and consulting the "map" for what's on which circuit convinced us that wasn't the case. But there was no power to anything plugged into the surge suppressor.

The next hypothesis was that the surge suppressor had blown. I'd put the surge suppressor there because the terrarium is way too big to let us access the outlet without moving it away from the wall, and with a couple of nails I could plug things in off to the side of the terrarium. Much more convenient! And it's an old house. A little extra isolation between my electronics and the house might be a good thing during a thunderstorm, right?

So we pulled the terrarium away from the wall and put a different surge suppressor (one I'd been using as an extension cord in my office) there. We started plugging things in and cheered--they worked. Well, all but one. Ok, we have replacement bulbs. That didn't help. OK, the lamp itself was dead;they're designed to screw together around a satellite-dish-shaped metal shade, to aim the heat into the enclosure. I unscrewed the parts and found that the had suffered a catastrophic failure, hot enough to turn the modern insulation in the ceramic bit to ash.

I am very glad indeed that I was using a surge suppressor there instead of a simple extension cord. All we lost was the doomed lamp and one surge suppressor--and a surge suppressor's highest honor is to die in the line of duty. The still perfect-looking shade is in the cabinet until we buy a new heat lamp for it, the plastic terrarium is quite unscorched, the snakes were more disturbed by us moving their home around than the potential disaster, and the electric lines in the house were protected from the surge.

So, I'm feeling lucky. Also, the clouds cleared so we could watch the eclipse and the Cubs' season isn't over yet. Maybe we'll get to read how Harry Dresden banished the curse on the Cubs this year! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2015 11:17 am (UTC)
I can't suppress a surge of relief.
Sep. 28th, 2015 09:51 pm (UTC)
Tee hee!
Sep. 28th, 2015 09:09 pm (UTC)
Whew, that's good news. Ounce of prevention was DEFINITELY better than the pound of cure there!

Sep. 28th, 2015 09:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah. No kidding.
Sep. 29th, 2015 06:06 am (UTC)
That's so terrifying and lucky!
Sep. 29th, 2015 06:41 am (UTC)
It seemed a lot more annoying than terrifying at the time. But I'm sure glad I had the surge suppressor in there!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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