London Fire Brigade

Firefighters called to hen do candle blaze

08 February 2012

A group of women celebrating their friend’s hen do had to call 999 on Sunday when a small fire broke out in the central London pub they were partying in.

The hens were playing a game which involved making ‘wedding dresses’ out of toilet roll. One of the hens, who was wrapped in toilet roll, noticed that some paper on a table had been ignited by a tea light candle. She leant over to put the fire out and the paper she was wrapped in caught fire. She threw herself to the ground and managed to put the flames out, but sustained burns to her chest and hand in the process. A pub staff member rushed upstairs with a fire extinguisher and put out some remaining spots of fire on a chair and carpet.

Firefighters soon arrived on the scene and immediately began giving first aid to the injured woman, whilst they waited for an ambulance to arrive. Two other hens also suffered from smoke inhalation and all three were subsequently taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance.

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: “There’s a serious side to this, candles can be lethal if you don’t keep an eye on them. Make sure candles are placed well away from flammable items and clothing otherwise the results can be catastrophic.”

The Brigade sent three fire engines and 15 firefighters from nearby Paddington fire station to the scene. The Brigade was called at 1735 on Sunday 5 February and firefighters left the scene just after 1800.

The Brigade’s top three candle safety tips are:

1) Always place candles / tea lights in a fire resistant container
2) Place them a heat resistant surface, like a ceramic plate
3) Keep candles well away from items that could catch fire


Notes to editors

Using candles safely

  • Always place your candles/tea lights in a suitable fire resistant candleholder
  • Make sure the candleholder is on a flat and stable surface to stop it falling over.
  • Always put the candleholder on a heat resistant surface like a ceramic plate (tea lights can melt plastic surfaces such as the top of a television or the side of a bath).
  • Keep candles/tea lights away from curtains, furniture and anything else that can catch fire. Keep loose clothing and hair away from candles/tea lights when they are lit.
  • Always put candles/tea lights out and leave to cool down before you try to move them. Always put candles/tea lights out when you are out of the room and when you go to sleep.