A candle had been left unattended by the occupant and set a wall calendar on fire. Luckily in this case there was only a small amount of fire, heat and smoke damage to the room where the fire was, but the elderly occupant had to be led to safety by a fire crews wearing breathing apparatus.
This is the second fire incident involving candles in recent days. On the 15th January fire crews in York attended a similar incident where a candle set fire to a flower display in a residential property.
Mal Austwick, Group Manager for Harrogate and Craven districts said:
Leaving candles unattended can be extremely dangerous and as these two recent incidents have shown can potentially cause severe fire damage to people’s homes and put the occupants at risk. Luckily at the Harrogate fire the elderly occupant had smoke alarms fitted in the premises which alerted a neighbour who called the Fire Service. Had no smoke alarms been in place the fire could have took a hold and we may have been dealing with far serious and potentially tragic circumstances.
Group Manager Austwick reminded residents to follow the tips below on using candles safely;
- Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.
- Children should not be left alone with lit candles. Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night.
- Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
- Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.
- Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.
- Don’t move candles once they are lit.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use.
- Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring (mainly with tea-lights).
- Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out when sparks can fly