Candles caused a number of house fires during the festive season and in January.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called to six fires involving candles between December 23, 2012, and January 2 this year.
On January 1 firefighters were called after a candle set fire to curtains in a first floor bedroom of a property and smoke alarms alerted the occupier.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 4.06am to Grosmont Road, Kirkby. The fire was extinguished by the occupier and was out when firefighters arrived. An appliance from Kirkby Community Fire Station attended the call-out. Around half of the curtains were severely damaged by fire.
Firefighters gave oxygen to a woman after a tea light was left on top of a TV set and started a fire at a property in Elmswood Road, Birkenhead, on December 30. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 4.09am. The fire was out when firefighters arrived. An appliance from Birkenhead Community Fire Station and one from Wallasey Community Fire Station attended the call-out. Around 20% of the TV set was mildly damaged by fire and the living room was mildly damaged by smoke. The woman given oxygen by firefighters was also treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics.
On December 29 firefighters were called out after a tea light had been left unattended on top of a television in Tollemache Street, New Brighton. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 5.42am to the ground floor flat. Two appliances from Wallasey Community Fire Station attended the call-out.
The candle had set fire to the TV and melted it. Around 25% of the TV was damaged by fire and heat. The fire was out when firefighters arrived. A woman was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics but refused hospital treatment. Smoke alarms were present and activated.
An unattended candle also ignited Christmas decorations at a house in Southport on Boxing Day. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 11.16am to Henley Drive, Southport, on December 26. One appliance from Formby Community Fire Station attended the call-out. There was 5% moderate smoke damage to the ground floor dining room where the candle had been left unattended. Firefighters carried out a Home Fire Safety Check while at the property.
Smoke alarms alerted an occupier to a fire involving a candle in a kitchen in Linacre Street, Southport. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 9.35pm on December 23. Two appliances from Southport Community Fire Station attended the call-out. Around 3% of the kitchen was damaged by fire and 40% was damaged by smoke. Firefighters carried out a Home Fire Safety Check while at the property. There were no injuries and the fire was out when firefighters arrived.
Watch Manager Mark Jones, of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Prevention and Protection department at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Leaving candles unattended can have disastrous outcomes. Luckily, although there was fire and smoke damage in some of these cases, there were no serious injuries.
“We urge people to take the greatest care when using candles. People should ensure that candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire.
“Children should never be left alone with lit candles. Lit candles should not be left unattended and should be put out at night.
“They should also be lit in a well-ventilated room but away from drafts to prevent rapid or uneven burning.”
In Merseyside, from April 2008 to March 2012, there were 183 fires caused by candles or incense burners. Five people have died from candle fires in that time and 43 people have been injured.
On January 2 this year, firefighters were called after tea light candles started a small fire on a wooden tray. It is thought one of the candles on the tray had spilt and started the fire. The occupiers extinguished the fire in Maxton Road, Kensington. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 10.47am and an appliance from Kensington Community Fire Station and one from City Centre Community Fire Station attended the call-out. No smoke alarms were present at the property. Firefighters carried out a Home Fire Safety Check and fitted smoke alarms. Part of the wooden tray was damaged by fire.
:: Never leave burning 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, on a ceramic disk and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books.
:: Don’t 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 draughts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot, and dripping.
:: Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
:: Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home and test it each week by pressing the test button. A working smoke alarm 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.