Kent Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people about the dangers of using candles after a bedroom went up in flames last night (Saturday, 17 December).
Firefighters from Maidstone rushed to the house in Western Road after receiving the 999 emergency call just after 10pm and were on the scene within minutes.
Watch Manager, Dom Moore, explained what happened: “The young woman had a candle burning on a bedside table and knocked it over accidentally, setting fire to bedding. She did exactly the right thing in getting out of her home and phoning us.”
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus went into the property and used a thermal imaging camera to check for fire spread, a hose reel jet to extinguish the blaze and then cleared smoke and fumes from the house with a positive pressure ventilation fan.
The resident, thought to be in her early 20’s, was being cared for by a neighbour but received first aid and oxygen therapy from fire crews.
The fire was extinguished by 10.36pm but crews spent a further 30 minutes damping down, turning over and carrying out salvage work. They will be returning to the area this morning (Sunday, 18 December) to give fire safety advice to neighbours.
Dom added: “Candles can help create atmosphere and fragrance in a home at any time of the year but particularly at Christmas. If you plan on using candles to light or decorate your home, why not use LED candles, they are clean and far safer for use around pets and children. They even flicker like real candles but are completely flameless so a safer option for use anywhere in your home.
“Please ensure your Christmas remains merry and bright by following our candle safety tips and help keep your family and home safe.”
Top tips for using candles:
Put them in a proper candle holder on a stable surface, so they won’t fall over
Keep them away from curtains, bedding or clothing and away from draughts
It’s easy to forget there’s a lot of heat above a burning candle so make sure there’s at least three feet (one metre) between a candle and any surface above it, such as shelves and decorations
Keep children and pets away from candles
Extinguish candles before moving them, if you leave the room or go to bed
Fit working smoke alarms in your home and test them regularly