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Candle Likely Cause of House Fire in Woodmore Community

A candle is the likely cause of a house fire in the 11900 block of Pleasant Prospect Road within the Woodmore community. The fire did an estimated $100,000 damage.

Candle Likely Cause of House Fire in Woodmore Community Candle Likely Cause of House Fire in Woodmore Community

A working smoke detector saved a Woodmore family from a Sunday morning fire likely sparked by an unattended candle, said Prince George's County Fire/EMS Spokesman Mark E. Brady.

Firefighters and medics responded to a house fire at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, March 23, at a house in the 11900 block of Pleasant Prospect Road within the Woodmore community. Heavy smoke was billowing from the second floor and roof of the home when firefighters arrived.

The fire was contained and extinguished within 20 minutes of arrival and all of the home’s occupants heeded the warning of a smoke detector and got out of the house. No one was injured, although six adults are displaced.

Fire loss is estimated at $100,000.

Having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a fire in your home by about 50 percent.

Smoke alarms should be tested on the first day of every month, discard smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older and provided fresh batteries at least once-a-year. Property owners are asked to upgrade to the new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke alarm for added protection. Alarms should be installed on every floor of your home and inside bedrooms. The request becomes a mandate at the end of the year.

The department is concerned because this was the third fire this weekend that was caused by unattended candles. The combined fire loss from these three incidents is estimated at $170,000 and three families are displaced from their homes by fire damage.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department offers these tips to help prevent fires caused by candles.

Causes and Circumstances of Home Candle Fires

  • More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations is too close to the candle.
  • In one-fifth (20 percent) of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.
  • Over one-third (36 percent) of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.
  • Falling asleep is a factor in 12 percent of home candle fires and 36 percent of the associated deaths.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 13 percent of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4 percent the rest of the year.
  • One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
  • The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.
Candle Safety Tips
  • Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles and fragrance warmers, which can look, smell and feel like real candles – without the flame.
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters and fire carefully.
  • Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.
  • Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.
  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Never put candles on a Christmas tree.
  • When using in home worship, don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, or pass handheld candles from one person to another. To lower the risk of fire, candles should be used by only a few designated adults.
  • And never leave burning candles unattended.

Candle Fires Are Preventable

In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts.

Escape first, and then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it frequently with your family. Designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room.

Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke, and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason: it may cost you your life.

Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire.

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