Warning after candle starts house fire

The 17-year-old was praised by the Fire and Rescue Service for his calmness throughout the incident
The 17-year-old was praised by the Fire and Rescue Service for his calmness throughout the incident

The fire service is highlighting the dangers candles can pose following a house fire last night.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received a call at 9.33pm yesterday night from two people trapped upstairs in a house with a fire below.

Three fire crews from Worthing were dispatched to St Dunstan’s Road, with the first firefighters arriving in less than four minutes, a spokesperson for the fire service said.

Firefighters were quickly able to rescue a 17-year-old male, a 50-year-old female and a dog from the property while other crew members forced their way into the house and quickly put out the fire.

The fire was started accidentally by candles setting the curtains and flooring alight, the fire service confirmed.

Incident commander Darren Wickings said: “This was a team effort - the control operators reassured the trapped residents, keeping them calm, whilst we were on route.

“We knew exactly where they were located, even before arriving on scene. Upon arrival, they were at the first floor window awaiting rescue, with the rest of the house heavily smoke logged.”

The 17-year-old was praised by the Fire and Rescue Service for his calmness throughout the incident. He was able to put bedding at the bottom of the door, to prevent smoke entering the room, whilst awaiting rescue by ladder.

The occupiers were initially alerted by a smoke alarm on the second floor, but after the fire it was found the detectors on the ground and first floor didn’t work due to missing or flat batteries.

Watch commander Wickings said: “The working smoke alarm on the 2nd floor undoubtedly saved their lives, however two others weren’t working, which would have raised the alarm sooner.

“We urge everyone to ensure they have at least one smoke alarm on each level and that they test them regularly. We also advise never to leave candles unattended.”

Further fire safety advice can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.