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Teachers and parents are being warned not to use real candles following an accident during a school’s carol service which resulted in a child suffering serious burns.
A young boy from St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School was seriously injured yesterday after his costume caught alight when it came into contact with a candle. He remains in hospital.
London Fire Brigade’s Fire Investigation team and fire safety officers attended Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Croydon following a call from the Metropolitan Police Service.
The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly, said: “This horrific accident is a stark reminder of the risk real candles can pose. They are a completely unnecessary hazard when it comes to children and school plays.
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“Sadly this isn’t the first time we have seen clothing and costumes set alight by candles and people need to recognise the risk and prevent these incidents from happening again.
“People should not be using real candles - especially around children, costumes and decorations - when there are far safer alternatives available.
“LED, battery-operated or electric candles take away the dangers associated with a naked flame. They can be left unattended and it doesn’t matter if they are dropped or knocked over.”
At this time of year, there are even more hazards around as people wear festive clothing and decorate their homes.
If you do have candles in your home, you must ensure they are never left unattended and that they are in a suitable fire resistant candleholder and placed on a heat resistant surface.
Candles and other naked flames should always be kept out of the reach of children and pets and should be away from materials which can catch fire such as curtains, furniture or clothes and at this time of year, decorations.
The Brigade is continuing to work with the school and other agencies to establish all the circumstances around the incident.
A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this very sad incident and we are supporting staff, pupils and the wider school community.
“We will be working closely with the school, the diocese and London Fire Brigade to review the circumstances to minimise the risk of anything like this happening in the future.”
Noel Campbell, Headteacher of St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School, said: "Our whole school community is devastated by the incident that occurred at our carol service yesterday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the child and his family at this difficult time. Following this incident our pupils, staff and families are being given support."