RESIDENTS are being warned to take extra care when using candles after a rise in house fires due to tea lights last month.

At the end of November there had been two fires in Merseyside started by tea lights with these fires resulting in four adults and three children ending up in hospital.

Thankfully there were no serious injuries but the two properties were severely damaged by the fires which began when tea lights came into contact with flammable materials.

In both cases, the residents had left their homes before firefighters arrived.

Firefighters remained at the scene of both incidents for almost three hours.

Group manager, prevention, for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) Mark Thomas, said: “Fortunately, in these two cases the residents were not seriously injured but these were serious fires – well alight on our arrival - and could have resulted in serious injury or even loss of life.

“With winter under way and Christmas approaching, candles can give that warm, cosy glow to a room in the evening.

“But to prevent candle fires from starting in your home, you should make sure candles are placed on holders and kept away from combustible materials like curtains, carpets and other fabrics.

“Always ensure candles are put out when you leave the room, even if just for a moment. And never leave candles lit when you go to bed.

“You could consider using LED battery-operated candles instead of ordinary ones.

“The most important step you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to ensure your home has working smoke alarms. This is absolutely vital.

“Working smoke alarms can give you the time you need to get out of the building, stay out and call 999.”

Top tips for staying safe with candles:

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re out completely at night.
  • Place your candles carefully. Make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books.
  • Do not move candles once they are lit.
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot, and dripping.
  • Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance.
  • Fit smoke alarms and test them now and monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur – practise your escape route.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.