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Oct 10 – According to the United States Fire Academy (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) candles caused an estimated 17,200 reported structure fires, 200 civilian deaths, 1,540 civilian injuries, and $200 million in estimated direct property damage in the U.S.

Candle Fire Tragedies

The following information was released by the USFA in a fact sheet on fires caused by candles.  How many of these scenarios may apply to you?

  • Three sleeping boys died when a candle left burning in the living room ignited nearby combustibles.
  • A man and his three children died in a fire when hot wax from an unattended candle dripped on curtains, igniting them.
  • Eleven members of a family died in a fire when a lighted candle ignited a mattress.
  • Two children died in a fire when a lighted candle rolled under the Christmas tree.
  • A mother and young baby died when a burning candle used for religious observances ignited cabinetry.

Fact: The majority of candle fires result from human error and negligence.

According to the NFPA the top days for home candle fires were: Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween.  But home candle safety does not need to be practiced only on those days.

Think about the number of times you use candles in your home.  Birthday parties, a romantic candle-lit dinner, or when the power is out.  Each time holds a tremendous potential for a house fire.

The USFA has released the following safety tips to keep you and your family safe when using candles:

  • Avoid using lighted candles.
  • If you use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters, and fire carefully.
  • Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters, or candles.
  • Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Extinguish candles after use.
  • And, NEVER leave burning candles unattended!
  • Resources

    NFPA Candle Fire Fact Sheet

    USFA Candle Fire Fact Sheet