A Fire Officer is warning of the dangers of unattended candles and highlighting the importance of smoke alarms following a serious fire in Trefor, Gwynedd last night where a cat sadly died.
Smoke alarms alerted the occupant to the fire at her home on Lime Street, Trefor and crews from Pwllheli and Nefyn were called to the property at 18.54hrs yesterday (Monday December 2nd).
The fire caused 100% fire damage to the entire ground floor of the property and smoke damage to the first floor.
The fire is thought to have been caused by a candle left on a window sill, which ignited wooden blinds above.
Jeff Hall, Head of Professional Standards, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“This incident clearly highlights the importance of smoke alarms, which alerted the sleeping resident to a fire in her home.
“The occupant did attempt to tackle the fire herself, and was extremely lucky to escape without being seriously hurt. She received oxygen from crews at the scene and received a precautionary check by paramedics. Our advice upon discovering a fire is to get out, stay out and call 999 – do not try and tackle the fire yourself.
“I would appeal to residents to be very careful when using candles or naked flames. This warning is particularly relevant in the run up to Christmas when people may consider using candles within their festive decorations.
“Candles can easily develop into a fire and every year we see countless incidents where an open flame left unattended can leave a trail of devastation.
“We advise people to use the battery operated tea light candles, which can be purchased for a small cost and are battery operated instead of requiring a flame. These electronic candles are just as effective at creating an atmosphere but are much safer than a candle.
Residents using candles are advised to follow the safety advice below:
- Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder, on a stable surface, and away from materials that may catch fire - such as curtains
- Children and pets should never be left alone with lit candles
- Never leave a lit candle unattended. Put candles out whenever 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 draughts, 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
- Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder, as these candles are designed to liquify when heated, to maximise fragrance
- Always burn candles on a heat resistant mat
- Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare
- Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out which may cause sparks.
Jeff added: “Even with these precautions, it’s vital to be prepared should the worst happen. A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to get out, stay out, and call 999. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your alarm regularly and by planning and practising an escape route.”