So luckily that picture is not my garage (or rather my parents garage) but it very easily could have been. Here is how.
Step 1: How Not to Make a Smoke Bomb
It was the 4th of July 2006 and I decided I wanted to make a smoke bomb, just like I had read about online and seen on myth busters. So I went to the hardware store and picked up some stump remover, and I took some sugar from my mom's kitchen. I cut the top off of a soda can and put in the ingredients. I then put the can (made of very thin aluminum) on the camping stove you see in the picture. I started to heat it to get the ingredients to melt together.
Me being 14 and having far more confidence than my intelligence called for I got impatient and decided to turn up the heat. Almost immediately the stump remover ignited and melted straight through the aluminum can. This might have not been so bad after all it was only on a crumby plywood workbench. However you will notice that the stove I was using has its gas canister located directly below the burner. This meant that in the split second it took me to dash across the garage to get my fire extinguisher (which I had only installed weeks earlier) the heat cause the pressure in the canister to rise so much that it ruptured causing a massive fireball and sending the burner into the loft of my garage AND the molten napalm like mixture of sugar and stump remover flying everywhere.
After a micro second of freaking out I quickly used the fire extinguisher to put out all of the fires then scaled some shelving to check out the loft which luckily remained unharmed. Now of course I find this story somewhat amusing but at the time I felt rattle for weeks, plus I had to spend all the money I had saved shoveling snow the winter before to replace plywood and some insulation that had been damaged. But I did learn a few lessons you can read about in the next step.
Step 2: What I Learned
Okay maybe this shouldn't be my first take away from this incident but it is and it is the most universal. Patience especially as a millennial is hard to fully appreciate but it is extremely important. Learning to be patient has helped me in all aspects of my life from relationships and education to woodworking and welding.
Any garage should have proper safety equipment, even if youare just using it to park a car a fire extinguisher is a must. I was also wearing safety goggles when I did this which as it turned out was a good idea. Another thing I did wrong was to not wear a respirator for days afterwards I felt wheezy and my chest hurt.
The Right Tool for the Job:
So in this case there really was no right too for the job because I was 14 and shouldnt have been doing it at all (especially because I was living in the city of Chicago where I am pretty sure this is illegal) but still I should have been using a thick steel container and the stove I used should have had a way to turn it off from a distance. This again though applies everywhere always use the right tool for the job.
Listen to Your Mother:
Well this wouldn't have helped me since I completely went behind her back (come to think of it I still dont think she knows) but had I asked her I am sure she would have said no.
Record and Share the Things you Make:
I am still not good at documenting the things I make and I am trying to get better, but I really wish I had filmed this, not only would it have really spiced up this ible but I could have been internet famous! Hopefully by sharing this some other 14 year old kid can avoid the mistakes I made.