Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 6:45am
City of Madison Fire Investigators have determined that Friday night's fire in the 6900 block of Old Sauk Court was caused by an overturned candle. The fire began when the candle fell onto a blanket on the living room couch.
The fire destroyed two condominiums, and damaged two more, displacing more than a dozen residents and at least five pets. Most of the residents are back in their homes now that the fire alarm system has been restored.
U.S. fire departments respond to more than 15,000 home structure fires started by candles each year. These fires caused an annual average of 166 civilian deaths.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
Candle with care
• Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
• Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
If you do burn candles, make sure that you...
• Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won't tip over easily.
• Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
• Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
• Don't burn a candle all the way down - put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
• Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
• Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
In the event of a fire...
• Resist the temptation to fight the fire yourself.
• Evacuate the building immediately through your nearest exit
• In multi-family structures, sound an alarm as you leave.
• Once out safely, call 911 to report the emergency.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947