Blazes sparked by candles up by 55 per cent - warn firefighters

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is issuing a fire safety warning after figures show that incidents involving candles and matches have increased by a massive 55 per cent in the past year.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:21 am

This alert comes after the number of fires that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have attended between January 2015 to 2016 increased from 20 to 31, sparking concerns that residents could be more aware of the dangers around the use of candles in the home.

David Kemp, head of ESFRS Community Safety team, said, “What may seem a harmless ambient addition to your home, if left unattended, can result in a serious house fire, resulting in property damage, personal injury or worse.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow safety advice to avoid becoming a statistic.

“Some people are unaware that if you do not place a candle in a heat-resistant holder and on a stable surface that the heat can quickly burn through plastic, or other material, creating a fire which could quickly become out of control.

“Also, if a naked flame is placed too close to curtains or home furnishings then a fire can quickly take hold and rapidly spread throughout a home.

“It is especially important to make plans for situations where power to your home might be temporarily lost.

“Whilst candles might seem the easiest option, there are safer options to manage light through a power cut by, for example, considering the use of battery powered lights and torches.

“It is so important to remember to extinguish candles when nobody is in the room, or when going to bed to ensure they have been fully extinguished.

“Also, it is imperative to fit a working smoke alarm to give you the best chance of escaping should there be a fire in the home.”

Candles, decorations and decorative lights have been a growing cause of fires but there are many ways in which you can safeguard yourself and your home against the dangers by reducing risk.


You should take care where you decide to put candles in your 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.

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.

Please follow this safety advice and to find out further information please visit our candle safety pages.