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Fire caused by unattended candles

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Candle holder in debris

Candle holder in debris

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Fire place with the candle holder in place

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Extensive fire damage

Extensive fire damage

How this fire happened

Tall candles burned down and set fire to an artificial flower display.

The burning flowers fell from the mantelpiece and ignited a sofa and cause considerable damage to the living room.

Four persons received treatment for smoke inhalation. There were no smoke alarms in the flat.

The effect it had

The fire rendered the flat uninhabitable for three months.

My daughter and I stayed with friends during this time which was very helpful as the council could only offer us a room in a nearby hotel.

We lost all our possessions in the fire and unfortunately did not have insurance, friends and family helped us with replacing the necessities and we are now back at home and building our lives again."

Safety message

Candles are responsible for causing an average of 27 domestic fires each year in East Sussex.       

Following these simple guidelines will help you to enjoy candles safely:

Using candles safely in your home

It only takes one candle to put your home at risk - always take care when using them

It is important to keep safety in mind whenever you use candles at home.

Lighted candles - where to put them

You should take care where you decide to put candles in your home. Candles are best placed:

  • on a heat-resistant surface - be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic
  • in a proper candle holder, so they don't fall over
  • out of the reach of children and pets
  • out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire
  • with at least 1 metre (3 feet) between the candle and any surface above it
  • with at least 10 centimetres (4 inches) between any two candles
  • away from clothes and hair - if there's any chance you could forget where a candle is and lean across it, put it somewhere else

Make sure you put out candles before moving them and don't let anything fall into the hot wax, like matchsticks.

Putting candles out

Never leave a candle unattended. Make sure you:

  • put out candles before you leave a room and before you go to bed
  • never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child's bedroom
  • use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out - blowing them can send sparks and hot wax flying
  • double-check that they are completely out and not still smouldering

Candles and decorations for celebrations - fire safety

Candles and night lights are often used in celebrations for Christmas, Diwali and other festivals.

Make sure you don't put candles in, or by, a Christmas tree, plants, flowers or other foliage.

You should also take care to keep ribbons, festive decorations made of tissue paper or cardboard, and greetings cards away from heaters, lights, fireplaces and candles.

Install a smoke alarm and check the battery weekly.

Further information

Do you have a similar story?

We would be interested to hear from you if you have had a similar experience to the fire detailed above, or would like to raise any related matters or even just generally comment on how useful you found our Black Museum.

Please send us your details and a comments via our on-line feedback form.



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Latest Update :
14 October 2020
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