State Fire Marshal Announces December 12 Is Candle Safety Day
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that Monday, December 12, 2016 will be Candle Safety Day and advised consumers to use candles safely during this holiday season and throughout the year. The second Monday in December has been established as Candle Safety Day by MGL C.6: S.12XX to promote the safe use of candles in the Commonwealth.
More Candle Fires Happen During Winter Holidays
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Starting with Halloween, we use candles to celebrate many of the winter holidays. Sadly, the increased candle use at this time of year causes an increase in candle fires.” In the past five years, more candle fires happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than any other time. “Candles should be blown out whenever you leave the room or go to sleep; and children should always be supervised, around burning candles,” he added.
Burn Candles Inside 1-Foot Circle of Safety
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey recommends that in order to reduce the risk of fire, candles should be used within a 1-foot Circle of Safety, and offers these safety tips:
- Burn candles within a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.
- Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Always extinguish candles after use.
- Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
- Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
- Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles.
35% of Candle Fires in Homes Occurred in the Bedroom
In 2015, candles caused 105 fires, three civilian deaths, nine civilian injuries, five firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $3.9 million in damages. Of the 84 candle fires in homes, 35% occurred in the bedroom. It is all too easy to fall asleep and leave a candle burning unattended in the bedroom. Remember to blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
3 Fatal Candle Fires Caused 3 Deaths
Three fatal candle fires caused three fire deaths in 2015.
- On February 9, 2015, at 3:38 p.m., the Palmer Fire Department was dispatched to a fatal fire in a 20-unit apartment building. A candle started the fire in the living room. The victim, a 53-year old woman, discovered the fire in her apartment, went to a neighbor’s apartment to tell her to call 911 and then went back inside her own apartment. No one else was injured at this fire. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants of the building. The building did not have any sprinklers. Damages from this fire were estimated to be $700,000.
- On February 18, 2015, at 6:49 p.m., the Adams Fire Department was called to a fatal fire in a two-family home. The candle started a fire in the bedroom. The victim, an 88-year old woman, was overcome by the smoke generated by the fire as she attempted to escape. No one else was injured at this fire. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants. The building was not sprinklered. Damages from the blaze were estimated to be $114,363.
- On August 28, 2015, at 9:37 p.m., the Springfield Fire Department responded to a fatal fire in a 4-unit apartment building. A candle started the fire in the living room. The victim was a 40-year old woman. Her two sisters were also injured at this fire but managed to escape with minor injuries. It was undetermined if alarms were present. The building did not have any sprinklers. Damages from this fire were estimated to be $38,000.