Safety reminder after fire caused by candle

Sun 8 Feb, 2015

Firefighters are urging people to take care with candles after a fire in Hedsor last night at which they gave oxygen to a man who was suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke.

Crews from Beaconsfield and High Wycombe were called to the fire, in a two-storey house in Hedsor Road, shortly after 10 pm.

Watch Commander Paul Casey from Beaconsfield Fire Station said: "The gentlemen ran a bath and then lit a few candles, including a large church-style candle.

"He placed this without a suitable holder on top of his linen basket and then went downstairs to make a drink and watch television while the bath cooled down.

"The candle subsequently tipped over and caught the basket alight, and the fire and smoke caused a lot of damage to the first floor.

"The gentlemen had smoke.alarms installed but the batteries were not working. The fire may have been detected a lot more quickly if the smoke alarms had been working, and the damage may not have been so severe."

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire with a hose reel and used a fan to help clear the smoke.

Paul said: “Lit candles should be placed carefully in proper holders, away from anything that can catch fire. Always remember to put them out when you leave the room, even for a moment.

“Even with these precautions it’s vital to be prepared should the worst happen. A working smoke alarm that is tested regularly can give you the vital time you need to get out, stay out and call 999."

Paul's top tips are:

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re out completely at night.
  • Place your candles carefully. Make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and keep them away from flammable objects such as curtains, furniture, bedding and books.
  • Do not move candles once they are lit.
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare.
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot and dripping.
  • Put candles out with a snuffer or a spoon. Sparks can fly if you blow them out.
  • Always put scented candles in a heat-resistant holder. These candles are designed to turn to liquid when heated to maximise fragrance.
  • Fit smoke alarms and test them regularly. Working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur. Practise your escape route.
  • Click here for a candle safety poster.