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Tis the season for candle fires

Believe it or not – these candles are flameless. They were found in a downtown Franklin shop. The Franklin Fire Department recommends use of flameless candles for your holiday decorations.

City of Franklin employee shares recent candle fire story

After returning home from vacation last week, City of Franklin Principal Planner Emily Hunter busied herself with unpacking and hanging Christmas lights. Finally deciding to take a break, she lit a candle on the end table beside the couch then sat down next to it with a blanket.

When Hunter got up to go into the kitchen, she unknowingly placed the blanket too close to the candle’s flame.

She was still in the kitchen when smoke alarms throughout her townhouse sounded.  “At first I thought it was something in the kitchen,” said Hunter. Not finding anything she turned to discover the living room filled with smoke and the armrest of the couch and the blanket on fire.

What she did next is not recommended but in this case was effective. Acting quickly, Hunter folded the part of the blanket that was not on fire over the flames, extinguishing them.

Although the fire destroyed her couch and blanket, fortunately there was no further damage to the home. “I was really lucky,” said Hunter, but admits she was really shaken up. “I got rid of all of my candles immediately,” said Hunter. “I don’t think I’ll be using them for a long time.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires and more than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

This holiday season the Franklin Fire Department is asking residents to consider using only flameless candles. Franklin Fire and Life Safety Educator Jamie Melton said that some battery operated candles now even feature a flickering “flame” and scented wax.  “Even when you’re up close it’s difficult to tell they’re not real,” said Melton.

She also said this is a good time of year to purchase home fire extinguishers and learn how to use them. “Holiday stresses and distractions combined with more cooking, candles, decorations, and the need for home heating all contribute to an increased risk of home fires in the winter,” said Melton.

Melton offers the following tips for home fire extinguisher use:

· Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

· Consider using a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; 911has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

· Always call 911 when you have a fire, even if you think the fire is out. The fire department will use thermal imaging equipment to make sure the fire is completely out and assist with smoke removal.

· Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use it so you escape easily if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

· Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan.

As in every season, have working smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide alarms if you have gas-fueled appliances) installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.  And remember to practice your home fire escape plan.

For more fire safety tips, call the Franklin Fire Department at 615-791-3270 or visit our website at

Posted on: 12/11/2012


WILLIAMSON HERALD :: 1117 Columbia Avenue :: P.O. Box 681359 :: Franklin, TN 37068
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