That Time I Set My Hair On Fire (Sort Of)

Has anyone out there ever scorched their hair whilst lighting a gas grill?  No, you say?  You’re too smart to have a giant gas explosion burn your eyebrows, eyelashes and hair?  That only happens in the movies, you say?  Well, let me tell you, it happens in real life, and I, obvious grill-master that I am (not), had it happen to me last Tuesday evening.

I got home from work to a perfectly thawed salmon filet and the desire to cook it over an open flame, so I headed outside and went about setting up our gas grill.  First I turned on the gas, then turned one of the burner knobs to the flame symbol, and then pushed the ignition button a few times.  When that didn’t work, I took the lighter that was next to the grill, bent down to the little hole where you can stick it in and light the flame manually, and flicked it on.

And then this happened:

Since I, unlike the well-prepared public servant in the photo, was NOT in a fireman’s suit, I was hit with a huge flame like a slap in the face.

My first thought was “I’m dying!!!!” (sometimes I can be a little melodramatic).  When I realized I was still alive, I thought “I’m on fire!!!!!”  As I patted myself down and touched my face to be sure there were no burns, I smelled it: burnt hair.  I immediately touched my bangs, my eyebrows, my eyelashes… and felt scorched hair every place my fingers landed.  Since I’m nothing if not practical, I decided to grab my salmon from the fridge and pop it on the now working grill before I went to check out the damage.

When I finally stood in front of the bathroom mirror, the reflection that greeted me was alarming.  I had a halo of burnt hair surrounding my face.  The eyebrow and eyelashes on the left side of my face were in bad shape.  And my bangs were scorched to within an inch of their life.

Ok, so it wasn’t as bad as the picture above, but it was pretty awful, especially considering I’d just had my hair cut and colored two weeks prior.

I’ve since come to terms with the fact that my bangs are going to be just a little bit shorter than I’d like for the next few weeks, and my eyebrows and eyelashes are going to take some time to grow back properly.  But at the end of the day, I know that it could have been MUCH worse, and I’m so grateful to God for protecting my face, my body, and my life.  If burnt hair is all I have to show for my terrifying experience on Tuesday, then I’m happy to put up with it for a while!

For everyone out there who intends on grilling this summer, this article provides some good tips to make sure your BBQ’s don’t end in burnt hair or worse: MSNBC

You can be sure I’ll be following all of those tips, and getting our ignition button fixed before attempting any more grilling!  If you don’t want to end up like me, I implore you all to do the same. 🙂

Happy summer!

– Hannah

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8 thoughts on “That Time I Set My Hair On Fire (Sort Of)

  1. Pingback: Lost It: My history of misplacing things | Whoa, Molly!

  2. Hannah
    A similar experience happened with me with a mere vegetable oil on stove in copper pot using a chef quality stove. In minutes the vegetable oil temperature changed into dark gas. I am taking minutes. I cook all the time. I LIFTED THE LID and the gas fire BOMBED ME in the Face and hair just like you – yours!
    This was months ago but its a horrifying experience
    so sudden
    and completely unexpected
    HINDSIGHT – I should turned the flame down -and noted copper pan turned black BUT this was minutes that this happened so my ability to think anything out was CA-BOTCHED -BOMBED you might say!
    the kicker was AFTER THE BOMB hit my face and hair around my head it stopped its force at the back of my SKULL like hook -GUESS WHAT I do not color my hair or use hair products so my hair only caught flame WHERE the FORCE STOPPED at back of my skull.
    TODAY I still have this on-going SINGE on my hair at that spot? I gather the FORCE hit clear into my SKULL maybe brain covering to stop its PATH
    I am much more cautious around CAMPfires and even flamming cheese at greek restaurants – even at the sauna yesterday when the STOVE was cooking up steam I wanted to run out my mind imagined its GONNA BLOW
    that experience is STRESS – like PTSD so random

    My face also was hit same as you EYEBROW and HAIR PART that was it. My face was fine just traumatized by SUDDEN- SUDDEN IMPACT mind cannot wrap around it still after months.

    my first thought was MY HANDS because I job – I need my hands SO as that gas kitchen fire was spreading like a virus in minutes in front of me – taking down my house I was in this CHAOS of critical thought I cannot leave this to find the FIRE EXTINGUISHER – and I had no idea BUT MY SON was yelling from the ATTIC do not put WATER on it! repeatedly screaming DO NOT PUT WATER on gas fire! So my only IDEA left was TO USE MY HANDS + jeopardize my only life source for income _I GRABBED and threw the GAS BOMB out the window in the DRIVEWAY next to the STOVE thankful no one and no car was below the window THAT FIRE BLAZED like I had BONEFIRE for at least 10 -15 minutes BOMB of BONEFIRE in my DRIVEWAY next to my home
    similar experience to you
    and yours
    just KITCHEN and in the HOME
    its was OIL turned to GAS

    baking soda
    MY SON used his FLAME RETARDANT carhardt jacket that was left on the staircase – that EARLIER was gonna bitch him out ABOUT
    interestingly enough MY SON and his GROUP of friends were over and I WAS bitching Em out to leave and “they did not listen” if NO ONE had been home THERE IS NO way I would have managed ALONE all that
    I kept thinking later ELDER PEOPLE should not cook – not grill alone unless someone is home
    an elder would never have had the mental or physical STRENGTH for that situation if I WAS struggling myself

    my hair did not BLAZE – it was EYE BROW _HAIR PART -and back of the SKULL in just 1 local spot
    that BOMB was stopped by my SKULL
    I really did not fell the IMPACT – was disoriented but no concussion The highest Awareness was the EMOTIONAL mental disorientation
    it was a hairdresser later that I asked to cut the SINGE off – who told me “Oh yeah did you break – crack your SKULL”
    that is where I was like OH MY GOD -My skull stopped the FIRE BOMB

    caution with OIL temps they accelerate very quick
    lid off
    caution with COPPER pots on high intensity stove
    It all worked out so MAYBE OUR RELAY of CAUTION is just an emotional MENTAL healing nothing more NO ONE CAN PREPARE caution either experience

    no one can prevent FUTURE occurrences so random completely fully MAYBE small change

    it worked out for both you and I Hannah its just the _ Is it PTSD post traumatic stress?

  3. Interestingly enough, this exact thing happened to me today. With a charcoal grill, however. My name is also Hannah lol. I just find this so funny. I too thank God for protecting my eyesight and face from being disfigured. My neighbors were also outside, I think my pride might be hurt more than anything else. Lol! My nose and lips area are pretty tender.. but not much redness.. just a bald spot near my forehead, singed hair all the way around.. and probably most disappointing shortened eyelashes, and very thin eye brows..

  4. This happened to me last week. Yes, I am grateful that my skin wasn’t burned too bad but I cried for hours afterward because my hair which I had just washed & dried was down so my hair was scorched all the way around my face, all of my eyelashes on both eyes were burnt almost completely off & my already thin & skimpy eyebrows are almost non-existent now. I’m really not shallow or vain but I was absolutely devastated! I take a lot of pride in my hair…I have long, blonde, naturally curly hair & I love it. The thought of having to cut a lot of it off in order to “fix” it was very upsetting. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but my eyelashes & eyebrows are a different story. My eyelashes, what little is left of them aren’t too terribly noticeable until I try to put mascara on…then it’s very obvious how short they are & they look hideous! So I just go without for now but I look like a freak with no eyebrows & I don’t know what to do. I have only a very thin line about 3/4″ long above each eye. It’s just awful & I tear up almost every time I look into the mirror. How long did it take for yours to grow back? I of course don’t have a nakeup artist to draw eyebrows onto my face every day & I’m no makeup artist myself & I don’t have a clue how to make myself look like I have eyebrows. Any suggestions? I’m desperate at this point. I don’t even want to go out in public amywhere right now.

  5. Bless your heart. Same thing happened to me. Had a copper pot on the stove and when the gas light did not ignite I bent down to see the problem and it exploded in my face & ignited a fire around my face that travelled around my hair fueled by hair spray. Left with a cauliflower ear, that has taken over a month to get past burns.

    Hairline is a different story. I live in ballcaps this time of year. I can cover up since nobody would think it unusual..

    Hair grows back just like fingernails. At about the same slow rate. But if you have access to a makeup counter at a mall (if that still exists) someone at the beauty counter would be happy to give you a demonstration for free. If not get online .

    If you have fair hair, you should have no trouble with a light brown pencil. I have done this for years because I hardly have eyebrows. Nobody is looking at your eyebrows but your eyes .

    Good luck

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