Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Candle causes fire in Brighton flat

A man had to be treated in hospital following an accidental fire caused by a candle in his flat in Brighton.

A tea-light had been left on a turntable and had become so hot that it had melted through the plastic, starting a fire.

Four fire engines, as well as the Aerial Ladder Platform, were called to the five-storey block of flats in Fenchurch Walk, Brighton, at 10.55pm last night (27th February).

The occupant had raised the alarm and managed to escape the fire, along with some of the other residents who had self-evacuated.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze using a hose reel and main jet, the dry riser, as well as the ALP to tackle the fire from the outside. The Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan was also used to blow smoke from the building.

Homeowners are being urged to follow East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s safety advice when using candles.

Crew Manager Darran Sampson who attended the incident said: “Tea-lights are meant to be on a dish or a plate because as the wax melts it gets red hot and if placed on a plastic surface they will get so hot that they will burn through it.

“A few people stayed in their flats as we were attacking the fire which I deemed safe as firefighters were running up and down the stairs with the equipment and they were less of a hindrance to stay in their flats, if they had not already self-evacuated.”

The occupant of the flat had to be treated for breathing in smoke and burns to his hand.

Crews remained at the scene until midnight.

It is important to keep safety in mind whenever you use candles at home. Candles are best placed:
  • On a heat-resistant surface - be especially careful with night-lights and tea- lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic.
  • In a proper candle holder, so they don't fall over.
  • Out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire.
  • With at least 1 metre (3 feet) between the candle and any surface above it
  • With at least 10 centimetres (4 inches) between any two candles
  • Away from clothes and hair - if there's any chance you could forget where a candle is and lean across it, put it somewhere else
Make sure you put out candles before moving them and don't let anything fall into the hot wax, like matchsticks.
Never leave a candle unattended. Make sure you:
  • Put out candles before you leave a room and before you go to bed.
  • Never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child's bedroom.
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out - blowing them can send sparks and hot wax flying.
  • Double-check that they are completely out and not still smouldering

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