Saturday, 25 May 2019

Chutney blew up my fridge

A WOMAN has told of her shock after a jar of home-made rhubarb chutney caused her fridge to explode.

A WOMAN has told of her shock after a jar of home-made rhubarb chutney caused her fridge to explode.

Margaret Goodwin, 66, was in bed asleep when she was woken by the noise of the fridge door being blown off its hinges and fired across the kitchen of her flat.

The explosion at 7am on Tuesday has been blamed on the chutney in the glass jar fermenting and causing a build-up of gas.

Ms Goodwin, who lives at Hanover House in Homelands Way, Henley, said she was shocked to find her kitchen in a state of disarray but grateful that she wasn?t in the room at the time.

?It could have been life-threatening certainly,? she said. ?The noise must have been absolutely deafening because it was very loud from my bedroom.

?When I came in I wasn?t sure what had happened. We don?t have gas in the building but it was obvious that something out of the ordinary had happened. I was quite shaken up.?

The fridge door smashed the glass of a montage of family photographs on the other side of the kitchen and took a chunk out of the wall.

The force of the blast temporarily lifted the ceiling and caused cracks in the top of the wall, living room and porch and blew the casing off an extractor fan. Ms Goodwin, a retired administrative worker, said: ?I?m just glad I wasn?t in there when it went off.

?I was asleep but it moved the bed, which sort of jerked, and I heard a massive bang. I knew it was in my flat because I could almost feel the impact of it. It must have been quite an explosion. You wouldn?t think a little jar of rhubarb chutney could do such a thing.

?The floor was such a mess. The door had been blown off and was propped up against the back wall and everything was piled up with all the fridge shelves sliding out. The glass shelf had completely shattered and there were glass shards everywhere.?

She called the fire brigade because she didn?t then know the cause and feared there could be more explosions.

Firefighters struggled to find an explanation, initially believing the blast was caused by an unfinished bottle of champagne. They checked the fridge wiring and found the machine had been working normally.

It was only when a technical director for Hanover Housing Association, which runs the sheltered home, inspected the flat that he identified the chutney as the cause. Ms Goodwin said the jar was a gift from a friend, adding: ?It had only been in the fridge for five days.

?The technical director said gases build up all the time in fridges because food gives them off. It had nearly 12 hours to build up overnight and he said that?s how it happened. It wasn?t just the chutney but the mix of other gases.? Ms Goodwin has ordered a replacement fridge and said she would be more careful about how long she leaves food items in it.

She said: ?It?s important to keep things in a plastic container if you are going to keep them in your fridge for a length of time because there?s more give in the lid.

?You should transfer everything into containers and not keep food for more than a couple of days as well as continuing to check.?

Estate manager Dawn McGinley said no structural damage had been caused.

?This is a real one-off,? she said. ?It was a surprise because even the fire service seemed shocked.?

Paul Herrington, watch manager at Henley fire station, said he had never known an incident like it, adding: ?The force the door came off with could have caused serious harm if she had been in the kitchen at the time.?

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