Fire Departments across the state are taking part in “Fire Prevention Week” this. Clive Fire Marshal Tony Collins says the theme this year is “safety with candles.” Collins says the number of candle fires has tripled in the last decade as the number and types of candles has increased.

While they once were an important staple in households for light, Collins says thousands of candles are sold now for pleasure. He says they’re are candles with fragrances and designs for different holidays. He says that leads to problems, especially at Christmas when you have garlands and pine cones and lots of things that can burn. Collins says people enjoy the smell of an aromatic candle or the beauty of colored candles, but they forget to blow them out or leave them burning unattended.

He says the theme for this year’s prevention week is: “When you go out, blow out”, or in other words, don’t leave burning candles unattended. Collins says he saw a prime example a couple of years ago with a fire in his community that was started by candles. He says the candles were under a bookcase and the lady had gone to bed for the evening and forgot to blow out the candles. He says the fire didn’t happen until one in the morning. He says the home was severely damaged.

Collins says it’s not the fire from a candle that does you in, it’s the noxious air created from burning materials ignited by the candle’s flame.
He says so many of the materials in the interiors and furniture of homes are man-made synthetics and plastics that give off a toxic smoke when they burn. He says, “All it takes is one lungfull of that and people can’t get out of the house in time.”

Collins says people sometimes light candles during a power outage and then forget to blow them out once the power returns. He says never leave candles unattended because it doesn’t take long for them to start a fire. And Collins says be sure your smoke detector is working, so if there is a fire, you’re alert in time to get out of your home safely.