Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Christmas Candle Warning

If you are using candles as part of your Christmas decorations make sure you take extra care to stay safe.

The warning follows an incident in which a mother and her baby were rescued by crews after a fire sparked by a candle trapped the two of them in an upstairs bedroom.

Crews brought them down a ladder to safety after a candle in an oil burner was left burning on the stairs. Colchester firefighters rescued the two of them at 01:44am on Saturday.

As many homes across the county light candles to create a warm winter atmosphere or light, create a homely aroma or even as part of their Christmas decorations the Service sees an increase in the number of house fires it attends sparked by candles.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “It is important to remember that candles are not just another piece of furniture or a Christmas decoration, they are a naked flame and create a very real risk of fire.

“Place candles with extra care, keep them away from curtains and furniture, make sure that they are not amongst flammable Christmas decorations, keep them out of the reach of children and away from pets and always remember to put them out when you leave the room, even if you’re just stepping out for a moment.

“Our best advice is use candle effect LED lights, they are a far safer alternative to naked flames and create very much the same effect.”

These tips will help everyone enjoy candles safely:

- Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.
- Children should not be left alone with lit candles.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be careful if you’re using candles as part of your Christmas decorations. Many decoration burn easily and should be kept well away from candles.
- The safest way to incorporate candles into your Christmas decorations is to use candle effect LED lights.

Details of the incident can be found on our website here.

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