Candle Safety

Burning a candle in your home can be a major fire hazard. With the holiday season around the corner, we all have to remember some basic candle safety tips that can keep us safe.

It's an example of what can happen if you leave a candle unattended; early Friday morning a candle was left burning in the basement of a home at 2112 Burton Street in Rockford. Fortunately, a working smoke detector allowed all the occupants to make a successful escape, but others aren't always so lucky.

“A candle is a fire. It's a controlled fire as long as you have control and you're in attendance with the candle," says Rockford Fire Division Chief Frank Schmitt.

Schmitt says the number of house fires caused by candles rose 15 percent between 2000 and 2001, the latest year for which data is available.

"Candles have become very popular in our society; aromatherapy candles, scented candles that bring back memories of our mother," says Schmitt.

And with the holiday season upon us candle use will certainly increase, so it's important to remember to never leave a candle unattended and blow it out before you got to sleep.

Leave a circle of safety around a burning candle, meaning you shouldn't keep anything combustible within 12 inches diameter of candle. Also, make sure candles are out of the reach of children and also keep them away from pets.

"The problem is there are a lot of distractions that we forget; people are entertaining, [they] want to burn a candle, [they] place candles in a room and forget about them," says Schmitt.