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Posted 04 March 2004 - 12:01 AM
W Sussex Fire Service Press Statement:
BEWARE OF TEA LIGHT CANDLE DANGER, WARN FIREFIGHTERS Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004 by Thousands of people may be putting their lives at risk because they are unaware of the dangers of using tea light candles without placing them in a heat resistant container, West Sussex County Council Fire and Rescue Service warned yesterday (Tuesday, February 24th 2004).
The candles have become an increasingly popular lifestyle product in recent years as people use them to create a relaxing mood in their homes. The manufacturers sell them as refills - and not stand alone candles - but people are not always aware of this.
The warning from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service follows a fire at a Lancing public house, which they believe was caused by a tea light candle being left on a television set. Ten people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, three of them had to be rescued by firefighters using ladders and several others escaped by jumping from first floor windows.
This prompted the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to carry out a controlled experiment in its purpose built demonstration unit at their Headquarters in Chichester.
Three tea lights were placed on top of a TV set. After 45 minutes, the heat from one of them had caused it to melt into the surface of the set, which resulted in the TV catching fire and emitting thick black toxic smoke.
Gary Towson, of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Because of this, we are now trying to raise awareness of the potential hazard.
"People don't realise that tea lights should never be placed directly onto a combustible surface.
"There must be thousands of people innocently using these candles without realising the dangers. They come with a flat metal base and many people think it is safe to place them directly onto any surface without the need for a candleholder or a heat resistant saucer.
"But if they are used this way on a TV, or around an acrylic bath, for example, they may develop into a potentially fatal fire.
"If you are going to use them, please put them in a suitable heat resistant holder. Don't put yourself in danger."
David Dewdney, County Council Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "Firefighters always urge caution when using any candles because of the risk of them toppling over.
"But this danger is different because people are using tea light candles mistakenly believing they are not at risk. I urge everyone who use these candles to follow the advice of our firefighters."
Home Interiors and Gifts Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, is voluntarily recalling about 211,000 sets of tea lights. Flames from the tea lights can flare, and the excessive heat can cause the plastic holders to melt, posing a fire hazard.
The recalled tea lights are packaged 12 candles per box with 'Home Interiors' written on the top of the box. Each tea light candle has a clear plastic base and is either red or ivory in color. The tea light candles are imported from Hong Kong.
Consumers should stop using the tea lights immediately and return any unused tea lights by mail to Home Interiors at 2901 Trade Center Drive, Suite 100, Carrollton, TX 75007. Consumers should include their return address information to receive a retail gift certificate from Home Interiors for the full purchase cost and shipping cost of the tea lights. For more information, consumers can contact Home Interiors at (800) 749-4545 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.