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Candles, Fireplaces Pose Fire Danger

  • Anne Arundel County
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MARYLAND -- The Maryland State Fire Marshal is warning people about the dangers of candles, fireplaces, and other open flames. This comes after three Maryland residents were injured in a candle fire. The Fire Marshal's Office admits there's nothing quite like the warmth of a fire. "The aesthetic advantages of fireplaces and candles are irrefutable. From a warming fire during the winter to the ambiance brought to a dinner party or a romantic evening, advantages are numerous."

However, open flames can be dangerous and even deadly. For example, three Frostburg, Maryland residents were burned after an incident with a candle this weekend.

The Fire Marshal's office said it happened on Saturday night. Three adults received varying degrees of burns, all thanks to a candle. 

According to the results of a preliminary investigation, someone used isopropyl alcohol as a fuel source to a decorative candle. There was still a flame inside the candle when the alcohol was added. The candle ignited and fire spread to alcohol that was unintentionally splashed on the burn victims. All three were transported to the hospital. 

Safety Tips From the Fire Marshal

Despite the beauty of candles and fireplaces, the Fire Marshal suggests other alternatives. "An increasing number of homeowners are opting for an ethanol fireplace or new alternative wickless and non-traditional candles that bring in all of the benefits of this feature but without the needless mess."

The Fire Marshal's office pointed out that ethanol fireplaces do not require chimneys, vents, or flues and are portable. But you still need to be careful. 

  • Here are some safety tips straight from the Maryland Fire Marshall:
  • You should always store your ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in the container sealed and in a safe location that is away from kids.
  • Ethanol burns clean; therefore, it can be difficult to see if the flame is still lit. Be sure to double-check before you attempt to move or refuel your fireplace.
  • Only use approved fuel in your fireplace or candle. Using un-authorized types of ethanol or isopropyl alcohol can result in personal injury as well as fire damage to your personal property.
  • Always clean up spilled ethanol or isopropyl alcohol immediately. You don't want to have flammable liquid spilled on your possessions.
  • Use a long match or lighter to get your fireplace lit. This is important as in some scenarios, your fireplace or candle can light on fire in a flash that can burn your hands.
  • Never move a lit ethanol fireplace or isopropyl candle. This is such an important tip to follow as any spilled fuel could ignite a much larger fire that could put your home and self at risk.
  • Never refuel your fireplace or candle while it is still lit.
  • Never leave your fireplace or candlelit and unattended.

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