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Use care with candles

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October 12, 2005

Valdosta - They give our homes a fresh scent and create a relaxing atmosphere, but if they're not used correctly, candles can be extremely dangerous. "A lot of fires are caused by candles left unattended," said Chief Jim Fielding.

It's National Fire Prevention Week and this year's theme is "Using Care with Candles." Lowndes County Fire Chief Jim Fielding says even if you're only going out for a few minutes, never leave a candle burning. "There's a good possibility that when you got back home, you'd only have a frame," said Fielding.

A lot of people think its okay to leave candles lit if they're encased in a jar, but they can be just as dangerous as those with an open, exposed flame. "If they get tremendous heat, these can crack and if you've got a glass fracture, one you're got a cut problem and then you've got an open flame exposed," said Fielding.

And they should always be kept out of reach of children. Last month, this Brooks County home caught fire when a five-year-old lit a candle and knocked it over. Two children were trapped inside and died.

You should also keep candles away from and combustible material, like curtains, furniture, bedding, or anything that could catch fire. "If you've got it like this sitting on the table, the wind could blow it, a pet could come by and flip it over with its tail or jump on it," said Fielding.

Candles are often used for lighting when a home loses power, but Fielding says to use battery powered lanterns or flashlights instead. "During Hurricane Katrina, we heard of fires starting in New Orleans because of candles being used because the power was off," said Fielding.

So while they may seem like a great accessory for your home, candles must be used with caution to keep you and your family safe.

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