Be careful with candles during the holidays, city and fire officials advise

Crews at the Nov. 21 house fire.
Crews at the Nov. 21 house fire.

An unattended candle sparked a fire that heavily damaged a home in unincorporated Snohomish County north of Mountlake Terrace this week, and city and Fire District 1 officials are reminding residents to be cautious with candles during the upcoming holiday season.

A single-story house in the 3500 block of 200th Place Southwest was left uninhabitable after a Thursday morning fire heavily damaged the structure. The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office estimated the loss at $110,000.

Five adults were inside the house at the time of the fire — the three residents and two guests. All were outside the house when firefighters arrived. Two of the residents, a man and a woman, were evaluated at the scene by paramedics for possible smoke inhalation.

In light of the incident and statistics that show the top three days for home candle fires occur during the holiday season, Fire District 1 offered these safety tips to avoid a candle fire:
– Consider using flameless battery-powered candles.
– Extinguish candles when you leave a room or go to bed.
– Keep lit candles well away from decorations, curtains, paper and other items that can burn.
– Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily and are made from materials that cannot burn. Make sure candle holders are large enough to collect dripping wax.
– Keep lit candles away from pets and children. Children are often attracted to the flame and may not understand the danger it poses. Playful pets can knock over candles or cause them to come in contact with households items that can burn.

Officials from the City of Mountlake Terrace echoed the safety tips from Fire District 1, adding candle wicks and containers need attention too. Candle wicks should be trimmed to one-quarter inch, taper and pillar candles should be extinguished then they get to within two inches of the candleholder, and candle containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt, city officials recommended.

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