My roommate (hereafter known as M) insists it has to be my fault, because she was asleep. I take issue with this, as a) I have not used the stove in days, and b) I had not been in the apartment, let alone the kitchen, since about 8:30 this morning. Yesterday morning, I suppose, it's after midnight.
So, following pattern in that M never cleans anything, after I get home around 10:30 she goes somewhere. Nothing whatsoever has been cleaned, so there's ash everywhere- and it does not respond well to being wiped up; it smears. It takes a lot of soap and water and ruined rags (I used up the paper towels up fast) to get up a small amount of ash. I did all the dishes, but it's not like any of those were clean anyway, because M, again as usual, had filled up the sink and counter with dirties since I last did dishes two days ago. I've also cleaned (most of) the things. There's some more ash on the top of the fridge I'm having trouble reaching, and I haven't attempted the ceiling or the wall.
What actually caught on fire was the water filter tub that M left on the stove for unknown reasons. After I'd gotten most of the melted/burned plastic up (fortunately it cracked off easily) I realized some of it had fallen through the stovetop, so I pulled that up to clean underneath.
Surprise, surprise - I'm pretty certain M has never cleaned under the stovetop in the several years she's been living here. Know how I know? All the disgusting caked, dried food and some sort of white condensate that had crusted where the flames would be, if the stove were on. Know what else I saw? A flame. Not on the actual burners, but between them - a place that would be covered up if the stove top was down. I checked and made sure all the burners were off - they were - but the in-between flame didn't go off.
It was only on one side of the stove - incidentally, the side that caught on fire. This explains why the stovetop is always hot, even when I check to make sure all the burners are off. It also confirms my suspicion that M never, ever cleans anything. Because she should have noticed that - I noticed the odd stovetop heat the day I moved in, but she told me it was just because the oven tends to give off heat. I'm so glad she checks her facts before reeling off glib explanations.
So yeah, M. Fuck you for trying to blame this on me, and fuck you for never cleaning anything, ever. I am so glad I'll be moving out next semester.
To top the evening off? The two and a half hours I just spent cleaning the kitchen really really needed to go towards my structure cross section. Thanks, M, for being so helpful. I guess I'm pulling an all nighter.