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This is a question Have you ever started a fire?

I went to sleep with candles burning - woke up to a circle of flame on the rug. Thought, "Tits. Better put the rug in the bath and turn the taps on." TIP: Don't put a burning rug into a fibre glass bath. I caused about £5000 of damage to the house and was coughing up smoky black phlegm for a few weeks. Can you beat that?

(, Tue 2 Mar 2004, 17:48)
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£2.25 Million worth of damage - beat that!
As a poor-ish student i took a job, as so many do, in a call centre answering rich folks queries about diamond encrusted credit cards. This particular centre was in Fulham Broadway, two floors above a barclays bank. It was, of course, a shitty, shitty job - but it provided additional beer money so, fair enough. One typically dull winter's evening i was on the late shift when i was told i could have a five minute break. Now, the lifts in the building are notouriously slow, and naturally one had to go outside to smoke. This combination of affairs meant it was common practise to light one's fag in the lift during these five minute breaks in order to get the full quota of two cancer sticks squeezed into the unforgiving time slot.
Dashing to the lift, it opened and i stepped inside - alone, save for a large pile of full black sacks the lazy bastard cleaner had left in the corner of the lift. As the doors shut, i struck my match and was about to light siad ciggy when who should put their foot in the door but my twatty, three years younger than me line manager. In my haste i whipped the fag from my mouth and slung the fag and match behind my back onto the floor. Twatty line manager just stood there looking at me - "Ha, he hadn't caught me out!"
I was in the lift alone. as it started to desend, i turned round to retrieve my cigarette and instead came face to face with a flaming bag of paper towels. Aleady the flames were huge and i was trapped. Expecting death, i stabbed blindly at the lift buttons; the doors opened and i ran from the lift, back up the one floor to the call centre. On reaching the door into the large office, i noticed someone was stood at the lift door. When it opened, a gush of flames swept across the ceiling of the entire call centre with such sped and ferocity that everyone, myself included, dived to the floor.
Alarms rang and we all escaped unharmed - the building was thankfully well designed in that respect.
I wandered around outside innocently - wondering 'what on earth could have caused such a thing?' I was about to go home when WPC Plod's leathered hand clamped my shoulder. Gulp. Twatty line manager had 'seen me setting fire to rubbish in the lift'. Arrested, down the station, stripped and put into a white paper clown's outfit. Charged with 'Arson with intent to endanger life' - a charge which the arresting officer salaciously tells me carries a life sentence. Understandably i was absolutely bricking it.
I paced the cell that night, chewing my lip, contemplating my fate - 'how the hell, what the fuck, when did . . bugger. I'm fucked.' What to do . . .
It hit me at about midday the next day - TELL THE TRUTH. It WAS and accident - you can't get done for an accident - i'd lose a job i hated at worst . . it really was that simple. In my interview, i could tell the detectives were expecting a nice juicy interrogation. It was here that they informed me that I'd burned down not only the call centre, but the bank as well and they reckoned ..oooh, 2 and a quarter million in damage . . . "Satisfied, are you?"
My telling the truth completely disarmed them - what could they do - it was, indeed, an accident.
I was bailed and four months later the charges were dropped.
My errant match destroyed more in one hour than i will make in a lifetime or two.

I never went back there to work.
(, Fri 5 Mar 2004, 0:04, Reply)

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