Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Smoke alarms alert occupants to fire caused by unattended candle

Victoria Road, Colchester
25/12/2020 @ 00:36
Incident Number: 136620
In attendance: 2 x Colchester


An elderly couple were woken up by their working smoke alarms last night after a fire started in their living room.

The couple immediately went downstairs and discovered a small fire on their fireplace which they managed to put out safely.

The fire was caused by a candle which had been left burning unattended on the fireplace.

Watch Manager Ian Ryder said: "This couple were extremely lucky that they were given such early warning of this fire. If it wasn't for their working smoke alarms which woke them up, the fire would have had time to develop and spread and could have destroyed the whole house and put their lives at risk.

"This is exactly the reason we urge everyone to have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home. Smoke alarms give you early warning of a fire, giving you time to get out of your house safely. 

"We also want to warn people of the dangers of leaving candles burning unattended. It is so important that when you leave the room you put your candles out. The safest way to enjoy candles is to get LED candles - they give off the same lovely warm glow but are so much safer, especially if you have pets or children at home."

Keep your family safe by following our candle fire safety advice:

  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire
  • 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
  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring
  • Don’t move candles once they are lit
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out when sparks can fly

Incident Images

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