I nearly burnt down a school

One of my most told stories while being in Thailand was when I nearly burnt down the school that I worked at. Every Tuesday afternoon I took part in a cooking class. The reason I was there was to repeat what their Thai teacher told them, but in English. On one specific day, we were working with small portable gas stoves.

The two orange lines are my version of flames.

I went over to have a look at their stove and noticed that their flame was completely dead. They had run out of gas. I told their Thai teacher about the gas stove hoping that she would change the bottle. I had no idea how to do it. She roughly guided me through the process and left me changing the gas bottle on my own while being surrounded by inquisitive students. Somewhere along the line, I wasn't aware of a switch that had to be turned off during this procedure and all of a sudden something went wrong...


It was complete chaos after this. Students were running around screaming. I was running around screaming. Another teacher jumped on a ledge, in case she had to jump for real (we were on the first floor). Teachers were trying to throw the gas fire out with water while another teacher was smacking the flames with a wet mop. Where was I? I was just standing there, in the middle of all this chaos, hoping I wouldn't be fired.

Thankfully nobody was hurt.

Claudia Jones

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