Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Flat fire caused by candles

Stoney Bridge Drive, Waltham Abbey
27/06/2020 @ 18:48
Incident Number: 125651
In attendance: Loughton x 1, Epping x 1, Cheshunt x 1

Crews have issued safety advice after candles started a flat fire which left a woman needing hospital treatment.

Firefighters were called to Stoney Bridge Drive in Waltham Abbey today at 6.48pm and found a bedroom 50% alight.

The fire started when tea lights caused curtains to ignite. It was extinguished by 7.15pm but the bedroom was left badly damaged.

The occupant's smoke alarm did not go off, but thankfully a smoke alarm in the communal area sounded and fellow  residents led the woman to safety. She was treated for smoke inhalation and left in the care of the Ambulance Service. 

Watch Manager Marc Lemon said: "Please follow our safety advice if you are using candles, keep a close eye on them at all times and keep them away from materials that might catch fire.

"Fortunately, in this case, there was a working smoke alarm in a communal area. Residents alerted the occupant to the danger and helped her out – and she was taken to hospital."

The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental.

Follow our candle safety advice

  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.
  • 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.
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare up.
  • 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.
  • Children should not be left alone with lit candles.
  • Don’t move candles once they are lit.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use.

Have you got a working smoke alarm?

We want every property in Essex to be protected by working smoke alarms - so if you don't have them in your home, we'll come and fit them for free!

To arrange your visit, or if you know anyone who would benefit from a visit, please contact us on 0300 303 0088 or email

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Some of the firefighters who attended this incident were on-call firefighters who live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station and are paid to protect their local community.

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