Smoke alarm saved lives of sleeping couple after candle set fire to home

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A working smoke alarm has saved the lives of a Huntingdonshire couple after a smouldering candle filled their home with smoke.

The sleeping couple, of Sadlers Way, in Hemingford Grey, were awoken by their sounding alarms and called the fire service at 12.44am on Saturday (October 10).

When the two crews from Huntingdon arrived at the property the fire was out but the ground floor was severely smoke damaged.

The female resident was given oxygen by firefighters and checked over by the ambulance service for smoke inhalation.

Watch Commander Ed Miller, Huntingdon black watch, said: “A large candle the occupants believed to have been extinguished had continued to burn after they had gone to bed.

“The candle was in a dish that contained decorative stones that were painted or plastic coated. Once the candle had burnt down sufficiently, the coating on the stones began to decompose and give off a thick black smoke.

“Both downstairs rooms were smoke damaged and the size of the candle had the potential to spread radiated heat to other combustible surfaces close by.

“Thankfully, the property had a working smoke alarm on each floor that woke the couple and gave them time to safely evacuate and alert the emergency services.”

The crews returned to station by 1.45am.

WC Miller added: “This is a timely reminder to firstly ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each floor of your property and that it is tested regularly.

“It is important to remember the warm glow of a candle can look appealing as the winter nights draw in, but make sure any candles are properly extinguished before you go to bed and that a lit candle is never left unattended.

“Always ensure candles are placed on a suitable, flat surface and keep them well away from other combustibles like curtains, cushions and books.”