Volume 14, Issue 26 ~ June 29 - July 5, 2006


Another Fourth of July, Another Block Party

by Allen Delaney, Block Party Chairman

I would like to apologize to the Pine Lake community for the mishap that occurred during the annual block party. As you know, the Block Party Committee’s motto has always been Safety First, Hopefully, which is why we held the Fried Turkey Cook-off near the lakefront.

Some of you may recall several years ago we held the BBQ Chicken Cookoff in the soccer field, and a stray coal caught some dry grass on fire. Four hours and three fire companies later, the field was extinguished, along with the soccer season. So, we figured that if this year we lined up our 10 contestants on the beach, there would be no chance of a fire again interrupting our party.

I only wished someone had told me that, when heated to a certain degree, vegetable oil burns as well as a dry soccer field. So imagine my surprise when that errant volleyball smacked into the first cooker, causing it to fall into the one next to it, then the one next to that one and so on, resulting in a tragic domino effect.

Granted, the sand did absorb most of the oil, so it wasn’t as if the entire beach was on fire. And none of our chefs were injured since most of them fled into the lake. It was also fortunate that the wind was blowing downstream since the last two cookers deposited their flaming contents into the lake. I never knew that vegetable oil and turkeys could float, nor did I know that they had the ability to burn and float at the same time. But at least the fire was blown away from our swimmers.

Buzz Ferguson of Ferguson’s Pier and Pilings has assured me that the community dock can be replaced. Since the water was a bit high that day, due to the previous week of rain, the burning mass was rather close to the planks as it slowly moved under the dock. When the lake will be usable is up to the EPA. As for the boats being replaced, that will be determined by each boat owner’s insurance company.

Again, I want to stress that I never knew vegetable oil could burn! I want to thank all of you for helping to throw sand on the fire. We were doing fairly well until the dock burned through.

I also want to thank Chuck Mason for his timely advice when he screamed, Run for your lives! I do believe it wasn’t long after he said that when the 38-foot cigarette boat exploded. (See, cigarettes are bad for your health!)

I’m pretty sure, even though I was running full tilt with my head covered, it was that particular boat that started the chain reaction. On the up side, it was a good training experience for all four fire companies since none of them had ever extinguished a lake before.

After talking with several insurance companies and numerous lawyers, I’m fairly confident that individual homeowner insurance policies will cover the damage caused by flaming boat parts that rained down on the roofs, sheds, cars, pools and lawns of the surrounding lakefront homes. The bright side was that we had a spectacular impromptu fireworks show!

As usual, we’re looking forward to doing it again. However, we will no longer allow any open flame. We’ll stick to a safer venue. I’m thinking of skeet shooting and lawn darts. See you there!

Newly wed Allen Delaney’s comic reflections have tickled Bay Weekly readers since the turn of the millennium. You last laughed at The Joint Household: Advice to Newlyweds (Vol. xiv, No 22: June 1).

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