Firefighters Warn Over Candle Safety

Firefighters are reminding the public to take extra care when using candles – after a child was injured in West Yorkshire this week. Crews were called to a house in Leeds to reports a girl had suffered burns caused by a candle – and she was taken for Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.

In West Yorkshire in the last five years sadly four people have died following fires caused by candles. In addition, 84 people have also been injured, with crews attending over 200 candle related fires since 2013.

Area Manager for Service Delivery, Chris Kirby said: “Candles can seem like a good way to create a relaxing atmosphere – but it shouldn’t be forgotten that candles and tealights are naked flames and can easily set fire to all manner of things in the home, which is why they shouldn’t be left unattended.

“At this time of year, with the cold winter nights and the lead up to Christmas, people will be using candles more frequently to make their homes cosy but please do be careful to ensure they are situated in a safe place and are snuffed out properly before bed.”

Our safety tips for dealing with candles and tealights are;

  • Always place a tealight/candle on an even, non-combustible surface, in an appropriate holder.
  • Never leave a tealight/candle unattended and snuff them out properly before bed.
  • Never place a tealight/candle close to combustible items such as curtains, furniture, carpets, clothes or even hair.
  • Always keep children/pets away from tealights/candles.
  • Due to the high temperatures created and transmitted through the metal base, a tealight can burn through plastic surfaces. If it drops, for example through a TV unit, it can then ignite and quickly spread to the rest of the room.
  • Glass shelves can shatter from conducted heat.
  • Leaving a spent match or piece of paper in the tealight whilst the candle is in use can lead to an effect called ‘double wicking’. The temperature of the liquid wax increases quickly to over 300 degrees Celsius with a flame up to 6 inches.
  • Do not extinguish a tealight using water as it can create a mini chip pan effect.
  • Install a smoke detector and test it regularly.