Our family dog used to root through the trash when people weren’t in the room, and to stop this, we stored our trash can on the counter, usually next to our stovetop. We learned, sadly, that this isn’t safe. One night, when the trash can was on top of the stove, the stove knob got bumped and turned on the burner and soon the kitchen was filled with acrid, black smoke and the smell of burning plastic. The fire alarm quickly went off, and the whole house had to be evacuated. The stovetop, counter, and cabinets were covered in melted plastic and burning trash.

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