Tuesday, February 24, 2015

That Time We Called the Fire Department About the Weird Noise Coming from Our Fireplace

That’s exactly what happened.

The title pretty much sums it up.

We were in the living room watching TV Sunday night,

when a loud humming-like noise 
started coming from the fireplace.

Monte swears he heard the wood in the fire 
pop first, but I did not.

The noise sounded like a revving-up-for-an-explosion kind of noise.

To me, anyway.

We looked outside at the chimney to make sure it wasn’t a fire.

But there wasn’t any smoke inside 
and we’d had a fire going for about an hour.

We looked in the basement at the washer and dryer that had been on for hours as the girls decided earlier in the day that ALL THEIR CLOTHES WERE DIRTY.

No humming noise there.

Monte had me turn off the heat so he could check the furnace. He had changed the filter earlier in the day and he thought maybe it was loose or something.

This is what happens to your air filter when your
house is under construction. Yum!

The noise was definitely not
coming from the basement.

The girls were upstairs and could hear the noise but it wasn’t coming from up there either.

We decided that we really needed to call our builder, Paul, 

but he was golfing in Florida.

We determined the noise was definitely coming from the fireplace

and it definitely sounded like it could explode at any minute.

I told Monte that I thought we should call the fire department.

There was some tense discussion about what exactly should be said on that call to the fire department to which we determined there was really no way to downplay or sugar coat the facts.

And that was that we had a loud noise coming from our fireplace that could possibly explode 
into a fiery ball at any moment.

And they should come over now.

Right now.

So they did.

They were gracious enough not to have the sirens blaring or lights on when they pulled up.

Just a blinding spotlight.

Four or five fire fighters walked around our house with beeping meter/sensor devices testing for any hot spots.

One listened to our walls with a stethoscope.
(I’m not making this up.)

I had to fight the urge not to photograph that because, 
well, you know,
kablooey was still a distinct possibility.

We had to explain why there was a stove, dishwasher and bathroom sink in our living room.

And a refrigerator in our dining room.

And construction dust everywhere else.

One fire fighter opened the oven door to listen for the noise.


They went over every dusty, cluttered, dirty laundry-filled square inch of our house.

I heard another fire call come in on one of their radios.

“We really need to go.”

To which another guy said,

“I’m committed. I need to see where this noise is coming from!”

To which, I wanted to give him a high five,
But I didn’t.
I just tried to stay out of the way.

Monte didn’t. He was right in the middle of them telling them where the noise was loudest and where it started to dim. 

It always seemed to lead right by the fireplace.

Finally, they started moving chairs and baskets and books frantically.

“It’s coming from down here!”

Then out of the beautifully hand carved wooden basket we got from Savannah several years ago,
that had been pushed under a chair that sat right by the fireplace,

the firefighters pulled out a little auto tuner microphone toy 

that had inadvertently turned on with the 
microphone directly on the speaker causing a 
very loud feedback/humming/ready-to-explode sound.

I had to shove my thumbs right up my nose to keep from laughing until I cried.

I didn’t want to offend AT ALL the firefighter’s 
very serious, stethoscope and beeping sensors work.

The guys handed the microphone to the girls and asked which one of them it belonged to.

They both pointed at me.

Which is correct. 

Monte got it for me for my birthday a few years ago. 

It’s a lot of fun. 

When it isn’t scaring you into thinking 
it’s a fiery explosive ball in your fireplace.

And makes you call the fire department.

One of the firefighters pulled out a little notebook, the kind my grandmother always kept in her purse, and asked for Monte’s name.

He said he’d try to keep it off the front page of the newspaper.

Monte gave the name of the OSU football coach,

“Urban Meyer.”

The firefighters all had a good laugh and really took it all in stride.

We so appreciated their grace.

As we waved good-bye, I told them I hoped this was the most eventful thing that happened to them all night.

Monte still hopes we don’t get sent a bill.

I am so glad that Paul, our builder, was golfing in Florida and not finding out that our possible chimney fire/explosion-waiting-to-happen was an auto tuner microphone toy.

After all, it was just last week I had to ask for his help loosening a bolt on our sink pipes in my attempt to fix a clog all by myself while Monte was out of town.

Paul turned the bolt with little problem. 
I had been turning it the wrong way. 
With all my strength. 

For hours.

“Righty tighty and lefty loosey” was completely lost on me.

I didn’t need Paul to have anymore evidence 
on just how crazy we can be.

 NONE of our neighbors called or texted us about why there was a firetruck in front of our house.

Now we have very loving, caring people as neighbors.

I just think they are on to us.

Kind of like that time after Easter when the girls stood in the back yard and Monte and I stood in the front yard and we threw all our left over dyed hard boiled eggs back and forth to each other OVER  TOP of the 2-story roof until they all exploded into tiny bits.

No one stopped to ask what we were doing 
and EVERYONE was out because it was a gorgeous day.

Finally, Monte stopped a neighbor walking by and asked if he wanted to know what we were doing.

He said something like,

“Oh, why bother? You guys do crazy stuff all the time!”

I hope the fire department doesn’t feel the same way


  1. Hahaha!!! Awesome. I do hope you don't get a bill. I have been scared half out of my wits by toys spontaneously turning on. Fortunately, we can't use our fireplace, so the fire dept. never had to get involved.

    1. Christine,
      We do have a history of being scared by toys turning on suddenly so I’m not sure why we didn’t suspect that Sunday night. I guess because we don’t really have toys around anymore. Thanks for reading!

  2. Oh those Hartranft's! I was hoping this would be a post!

    1. I can so hear you saying that! Haha!

  3. The times we have called the fire department we have never received a bill. I think that only happens after quite a few false calls.

    1. Good! I hope this doesn’t become a regular thing for us!

  4. Joey will be jealous that you had them there without him! You make me laugh!

    1. Lori,
      Warn Joey that some of the calls he will have to go out on one day could be to the home of crazy people like us!

  5. Our son-in-law is a volunteer firefighter and has been on some strange calls but none have involved a grown women's microphone : ) Good job keeping it together. I would have been in half mortified hysterics! Glad you are all safe because really it must have been a bit scary.

  6. This had me laughing out loud. Thanks for linking up at Thursday Favorite Things, hope to see you again this week.


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