Firefighters are asking people celebrating Diwali to use LED tea lights rather than candles to avoid the huge fire risk from leaving candles unattended.
Candles are a leading cause of house fires, with crews attending 234 candle fires in London last year.
Many people mark Diwali festival by placing candles by shrines, which can then be left burning unattended. Tea light candles often burn through their holders and set alight to whatever they are placed on or the flames catches nearby furniture.
Last month, six fire engines were called to a fire at a house in Edgware which is believed to have been caused by a tea light candle in a religious shrine.
The Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Lee Drawbridge, said: “It’s common practice to light candles by religious shrines during Diwali and all too easy to walk away and leave them, which is especially dangerous.
“We have been to numerous fires involving religious shrines which have been left unattended and caught light to nearby materials like curtains or a pile of newspapers. These fires can take hold easily, destroy property and risks injury or worse.
“LED lights are a safer battery powered alternative to the small candles and whether around a shrine, or placed by the TV. I would urge everyone to stop using them unless they are placed in a proper container and never, ever left burning unattended. They can also burn straight through baths and sinks too.
“In addition to Diwali, it’s been a busy few days for our crews over the Bonfire Night and Halloween period. It’s really important that people are aware of the risks.”
The Brigade is also reminding residents to take care if they are setting off fireworks as part of their Diwali celebrations and encouraging people to attend organised displays rather than having their own.
Last year, London’s firefighters attended more than 250 fires over the Diwali period. In 2016 they attended 401 and in 2015 it was 301 over the same period.
Find out about how to stay safe and well when using candles and oil burners.