Gasoline not good for stoking this New Year's fire

New Year's Eve ranks among the deadliest holidays for car crashes and other mishaps.
   That's why, even though tonight is a milestone birthday for my wife, we're going out for an early dinner and then hosting a family celebration at home. No sense dodging all those crazy drivers.
   Not that I've always been an angel, mind you. Years ago there was always a big, festive party to attend. We've seen others' near-misses on the road and in homes.
   Most memorable was a New Year's Eve in my college years. A neighborhood friend hosted a party in his family's house, and though we had fun, it was fairly docile.
   Nearby, however, a few teens were partying at home while their parents were out of town. We found out around midnight, when we heard a BOOM! and someone at our party ran downstairs and yelled, "There's a house on fire down the street!"
   We all ran outside to gawk. Fire trucks came, and it was an ugly scene. We later learned the teens had been drinking and decided to light a fire in the fireplace. Their wood was damp, so they foolishly tossed gasoline on it to kindle the flames.
   Gasoline vapor sparked an explosion that literally blew one of the guys across the room.
   No one died, but much of the home was toast. That pretty much put a damper on our own party. The festive atmosphere fizzled and people went home.
   Here's wishing you a safe and happy New Year. May good judgment prevail, on the roads and at home.

by  Jon Osterberg



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