News release text
Firefighters are urging residents to take care when using tea lights and candles after a romantic idea led to disaster in Chatham this morning (9 August).
Crews were called to Chatham Hill at 2:15am after residents reported that tea lights had caught a carpet alight and that the fire was rapidly spreading throughout the bedroom.
On arrival firefighters quickly tackled the fire with a hose reel jet, while also using a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the smoke logged home.
Medway Watch Manager Paul Nash, who attended the incident, said: “It looks as though the man had set up approximately 40 tea lights on the carpet in the bedroom, spelling out his partners name and also creating the shape of a love heart. Unfortunately when these were set alight the man then left the room and closed the door, so was unaware that the heat of the tea lights had set the carpet on fire.”
Approximately 70 per cent of the bedroom was destroyed by fire, with the remainder of the upstairs being damaged by smoke. No injuries were reported at the scene.
Paul added: “We realise that tea lights have become increasingly popular in recent years to create a relaxing or romantic atmosphere in the home. However, many people are still unaware of the dangers that candles and tea lights can present. The flame from a candle can quickly ignite a nearby curtain or clothing if it’s placed too close, or gets knocked over.
“Candles that are forgotten and left unattended can also cause fires if not placed in proper candleholders. Because tea lights come with a flat metal base many people think it is safe to place them directly onto any surface without a candleholder or a heat resistant saucer.
“However, they reach extremely high temperatures. If they’re placed directly on a plastic or combustible surface they quickly melt into the material and can cause a potentially fatal fire.”