Apartment Fire Caused by Candle

candle Early this morning, several emergency vehicles drove down my street. They were responding to a fire that broke out in an apartment in a building near where I live. The fire could have been prevented. State Farm has some advice about how to prevent a house fire from happening.

Fires are destructive. Homeowners insurance is designed to help people with the financial losses that can happen after their house catches on fire. It gives the policyholder some money to replace the items that they lost. Renters insurance functions in the same way. People who live in an apartment cannot rely on the landlord’s insurance to cover tenant’s losses if a fire occurs.

Early this morning, several emergency vehicles, with sirens blaring and lights flashing, drove down my street. There was a total of two fire trucks (one of which had a ladder), the fire chief’s vehicle, one (possibly two) ambulances, and a couple of police vehicles. They were responding to a fire that broke out in an upper floor apartment in the building across the street from where I live.

The fire could have been prevented. State Farm has a list of tips that can help people to prevent a house (or apartment) fire. The one that stands out the most for me is this one: control candles.

The apartment fire that happened near where I live was due to an uncontrolled candle. There was a candle in a glass candle holder located in a child’s bedroom. The glass cracked, causing the wax to drip out. The flame moved across the wax and caused the bedding to catch fire. Everyone was asleep when this happened.

Fortunately, in this situation, no one was hurt. The woman living in the apartment, and all six of her children, were evacuated by fire fighters. Most, if not all, of their belongings were destroyed in the fire. The adjacent apartments were not damaged by the fire.

According to State Farm, accidentally falling asleep plays a role in 12% of all fires that were started by a candle. This fire could have been avoided if the family had used a battery operated candle instead of a real one that night. It also would have been avoided if an awake person, (preferably an adult) was in the room and monitoring the candle. That person could have blown out the candle immediately after the glass candle holder broke.

In this situation, the apartment lacked a functioning smoke detector. The presence of a smoke detector cannot put out a fire. However, it can alert sleeping people who are unaware that a fire has started, so they can evacuate. A smoke detector doesn’t cost very much, and neither do the batteries it uses. It is a small investment that can help save lives.

Image by Jamin Gray on Flickr