When Ken Gambell got the phone call that his Milwaukie home was on fire, he was shocked to find out the cause.
“A Portland snow globe. I mean, who would have ever thought something so harmless could cause a fire?” Gambell said.
The 57-year-old bar owner was at his cabin in Mt. Hood, Ore., when firefighters were dispatched to his house on Saturday. Gambell’s neighbor had heard a faint sound of alarms going off and saw smoke coming out of the house. He called 911 immediately.
Firefighters say that when they arrived, Gambell’s couch was on fire in his living room. The culprit? A beam of light.
“Our firefighters saw the snow globes beaming on the back side of the couch, completely scorching it,” Clackamas Fire District #1 spokesman Steve McAdoo said. “Our men brought the couch outside to extinguish it and started taking pictures.”
After further investigation, McAddo says the cause of the fire was two Christmas snow globes Gambell had left out on his window seat.
“I had wanted to put those away with the rest of the decorations and forgot,” Gambell said. “It’s somewhat humorous.”
Gambell’s home isn’t the only one to have a fire because of a snow globe.
In December 2008, a $1million home in Michigan was destroyed after a Hallmark snow globe caught “combustible materials” ablaze, according to ABC’s WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids.
The Jumbo Snowman globe was deemed defective and recalled weeks later, after homeowners Stephen and Florence Hajek filed suit against the company.
“It looks relatively innocuous, but it starts fires in seconds,” Rick Marvin, the Hajeks’ attorney said.
The Hajeks ended up collecting $1.8 million from Auto-Owners Insurance after their home was destroyed.
Gambell says he’s just lucky the fire didn’t cause substantial damage to his home.
“I’m just thankful for good people living next to me,” Gambell said. “Really glad there’s still people like my neighbors in this world.”