City of Valdosta Press Release:
The Valdosta Fire Department responded to an early morning house fire at 6:40 AM on Monday, August 27, 2018. Engine 1 arrived at 110 Wells Street at 6:44 AM, and reported heavy smoke and flames conditions from the side of the house. VFD Firefighters initiated an aggressive search to locate any residents while attempting to extinguish the fire. There were no injuries reported, and all residents were safe outside the home. Within eight minutes, the fire was under control. Five people are displaced due to the fire that caused an estimated $10,000 worth of damage.
There were a total of 17 VFD Firefighters on the scene. Georgia Power secured all electrical utilities. SGMC EMS and VPD also assisted Firefighters on the scene.
Fire Marshal Chief Clinkscales investigated the fire and has ruled it an accidental and unintentional fire. The fire cause was the result of an unattended candle that was too close to combustible items. Fire Chief Freddie Broome stresses the importance of candle safety to residents in the City of Valdosta. “It is essential to remember never to leave a candle unattended or within 1 foot from anything that can ignite.” said Broome.
- From 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,700 home structure fires that were started by candles each year. These fires caused an annual average of 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.
- From 2011 to 2015, Candles caused 2% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 4% of the direct property damage in home fires.
- During that time frame, Roughly one-third (37%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 36% of the associated deaths and 51% of the associated injuries.
- Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 21% of the associated deaths.
- On average, 24 home candle fires were reported per day.
- More than half (59%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the lit candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 12% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Tips for Candle Safety from VFD:
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from anything that can burn.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles
Information courtesy of NFPA – https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire/Candles
For any candle safety questions, please contact Tangela Rowe, Valdosta Fire Department Fire & Life Educator, at email@example.com or 229-333-1835.