Safety reminder after fire caused by unattended candle

Mon 20 Jun, 2016

Firefighters are urging people to take care with candles, and to make sure they have working smoke alarms, after a fire in High Wycombe last night (Sunday 19 June).

Crews from High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Maidenhead were called to the incident, in a two-storey house in Underwood Road, shortly before 8pm.

The fire started after a candle was left burning in a bedroom, not in a secure holder, while the residents were downstairs. There were no smoke alarms in the home.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to put out the fire and a fan to clear the smoke (some of the damage is pictured above and below). They then carried out a safety check and fitted smoke alarms.

Crew Commander Ricky Smith from Beaconsfield Fire Station 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."

Ricky'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, clothes, 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.
  • To arrange from a free safety check in your home, ring 01296 744477 or email