Penticton house fire illustrates need to be 'fire aware' during the holiday season

The Penticton Fire Department offers some advice on candle usage during the holidays following a house fire on Dec. 14.

PENTICTON - A house fire in Penticton Sunday, believed to have been started by a candle, brings a reminder from the Penticton Fire Department to be careful when using candles during this holiday season.

The fire, which occurred in the 200 block of Okanagan Avenue West at 1:48 p.m. Dec.14, was knocked down quickly, according to Deputy Fire Chief Dave Spalding.

“It was confined to the bathroom,” he says, noting firefighters had to vent the home of smoke afterwards. The occupant, who was home at the time, did not suffer any injuries but stayed with friends Sunday evening after receiving some personal items and supplies from Emergency Social Services.

"Never leave candles unattended, or unattended in the hands of small children,” is the advice from Jody Fotherby with the fire department.

With the holiday season upon us, Fotherby says residents need to be aware of the dangers posed by some holiday activities. She said battery operated candles offer a safer way of lighting up the holiday season.

Something many of us don’t think about is candle safety during seasonal religious services.

“Candles should be placed in sturdy holders, and should not be passed from one person to another at any time,” she says.

“Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire, and if a candle must burn continuously, place it in an enclosed glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray or in a deep basin filled with water.”

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires, according to information supplied by the National Fire Protection Association. Roughly one-third of home candle fires occur in the bedroom, and more than half of all candle-fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

The number of holiday related fires responded to by the Penticton fire department varies from year to year, according to Spalding.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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