STOW, MA – State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that Monday, December 9, 2019 is Candle Safety Day and advised people to use candles safely during this holiday season and throughout the year. The second Monday in December has been established as Candle Safety Day by MGL C.6: S.12XX to promote the safe use of candles in the Commonwealth.
More Candle Fires Happen During Winter Holidays
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Candles are a traditional part of our holiday celebrations, but sadly, this increase in candle use causes an increase in candle fires.” The majority of candle fires happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, and many occur on Christmas Day.
- On Christmas Day, December 25, 2018, at 3:01 p.m., the Canton Fire Department was called to a candle fire in a 14-unit apartment building. The candle ignited the linen in a basement apartment bathroom. No one was injured at this fire. Alarms were present but it was undetermined if they operated. The building was not sprinklered and damages were estimated at $70,000.
Burn Candles Inside a 1-Foot Circle of Safety
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey recommends that in order to reduce the risk of fire, burn candles inside a 1-foot Circle of Safety, and offers these safety tips:
- Burn candles inside a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.
- Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Always extinguish candles after use.
- When you go out, blow it out.
- Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
- Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
- Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles.
Switch to Flameless Candles
To be safe, consider using flameless candles in your home. Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage instead of traditional candles.
Over 1/3 of Candle Fires in Homes Occurred in the Bedroom
In 2018, candles caused 97 fires, five civilian injuries, five firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $3.4 million in damages. Of the 75 candle fires in homes, one-third occurred in the bedroom. It is all too easy to fall asleep and leave a candle burning unattended. “Remember to blow out candles before leaving a room or going to bed,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. Candle fires have dropped 72% since they peaked at 342 in 1999. “Although candle fires are decreasing, we must continue to practice safe candle use,” he added.
No Fatal Candle Fires in 2018
There were no fatal candle fires in 2018. However there were six civilian deaths in six candle fires between 2014 and 2018.
For more information, visit www.mass.gov/dfs and type in candle safety in the search bar or go directly to our Candle Safety webpage.