Two small Bend candle fires could have been tragic

In one, child was sleeping in bedroom with no smoke alarm

BEND, Ore. - Tragedies averted often don't make the news – only ones that happen. But a Bend fire captain says two small candle-caused blazes in recent days could have been disastrous, if they weren't snuffed quickly – and also offer crucial reminders on how to safely use candles, and the need for a smoke alarm in every bedroom.

The first blaze occurred last Thursday in an apartment at 1700 SE Tempest Drive, where firefighters responded to a report of a smoke detector activation in a vacant apartment and a possible fire, said fire Capt. Steve Kaneda.

Crews arrived to find a candle had been left unattended, which had burned down and melted lacquer on the furniture it rested on, Kaneda said.

Firefighters forced entry to the building, found no active fire and ventilated the apartment, he said, adding that only about $40 worth of damage occurred.

On Tuesday, around 3:30 p.m., firefighters responded to a reported structure fire in a single-story home in the 2400 block of NE Saranac Place, Kaneda said.

Upon arrival, firefighters found an "out fire" caused by a candle left unattended in a young child's bedroom. It had ignited a book that fell onto it while the child was sleeping, Kaneda said.

Fortunately, the parents smelled smoke and were able to douse the blaze before it got out of control.

Kaneda said there was no smoke detector in the child's bedroom, and others in the home did not sound until the fire was extinguished.

After crews confirmed no active fire problem, they ventilated the home to remove the residual smoke. Damage was estimated at $60.

In both cases, Kaneda said firefighters wanted "to remind the public that the improper use of candles can result in catastrophe."

During what happens to be national Fire Prevention Week, Kaneda also offered up a few tips:

-Never leave candles unattended.

-Keep all combustible materials away from open flames.

-Place candles in glass or ceramic containers, and on a flat, sturdy surface

-Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present.

Also, Kaneda reminded that "smoke alarms save lives," and should be installed in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

Smoke alarms should be interconnected throughout a home, so when one sounds, they all sound, he added.

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