London Fire Brigade

Brigade backs Winkleman’s candle warning

04 November 2014

We're backing Claudia Winkleman’s warning about the dangers of candles, open fires and fireworks after her daughter was hospitalized following a Halloween party.

Last year, there were 82 fire related injuries between Halloween and Bonfire Night – a 37 percent increase on the number of injuries recorded in 2012. Candles in particular are one of the biggest causes of fires in the home and should never be left unattended.

In February 2012, a woman suffered burns in a game that involved making ‘wedding dresses’ out of toilet roll, at a hen party in a central London pub. 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.

Last month, firefighters helped an elderly woman from a flat in Newham after she was alerted to a fire in her bathroom by her smoke alarm sounding. The fire is believed to have been cause by a candle which had been left to burn on the edge of the bath, as part of Diwali celebrations.

Rita Dexter, London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner, said:

“I hope Claudia’s daughter has a speedy recovery after this ordeal. It’s a shocking but timely reminder that open flames can be lethal if you don’t keep an eye on them or they are left unattended. Make sure candles are placed well away from flammable items and clothing otherwise the results can be catastrophic.”

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