Friday, September 5, 2008

Improper use of candles when the power goes out...

As I said the other day, NEVER leave a candle unattended......

Candle ignites 6th Ward home
by Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
Friday September 05, 2008, 9:27 AM
Part of a house went up in flames in the 2300 block of Ursulines Avenue after a candle that residents were using because the home was without power inadvertantly tipped over and set the kitchen on fire.
A firefighter battling blaze was taken the hospital after cutting his hand, according to NOFD spokesman Michael Williams. He recieved stitches and is home.
Firefighters rang one alarm after receiving a 911 call at 9:55 p.m. from Hazel Wilson, who had just returned with her 22-year-old son Bobby and her 18-year-old cousin Zilton Lashley from their Hurricane Gustav-forced evacuation to a shelter in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Wilson, like thousands of others in New Orleans, had no power in her home. She lit candles to give herself some light to move around the house, and she gave one of them to Zilton so he could clean up the back of the home.
At some point, Zilton placed the candle on a plastic cabinet in the kitchen and left it there. Before he could get back to it, however, the candle lost its balance and tipped over.
Its flame ignited the nearby drapes.
The fire spread quickly, Wilson said -- the curtains, cabinet, walls, washing machine and even the bathroom burst into flames.
Firefighters arrived five minutes after the 911 call and helped Wilson, her son and her cousin emerge from the fire unharmed.
However, in the 45 minutes it took for the firefighters to extinguish the fire completely, one of the firefighters cut his hand. Paramedics took him to the hospital for stitches, according to New Orleans EMS spokesman Jeb Tate.
Wilson received both a voucher for a three-day stay at a hotel and $95 for food from the American Red Cross, she said.
Williams provided the following safety tips for residents living in their home without power:
-- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from things that can catch fire - clothing, fabrics, textiles, curtains and books.
-- Use sturdy candleholders that won't tip over easily and are made from a material that can't burn.
-- Use candles that are large enough to collect dripping wax.
-- Keep candles away from all flammable liquids.
-- Don't leave burning candles unattended, or within the reach of small children or pets.
-- Extinguish all candles when leaving or going to bed.
-- Always use a flashlight, not a candle, for emergency lighting.


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