Hallowe’en began with a frightening experience for an Angmering family when a candle bag left on a bedroom window sill started a fire.
A fire crew from Littlehampton arrived at the terraced house in Parsons Close minutes after being called out at 5.17pm yesterday (Wednesday, October 31).
The occupier, a woman in her 30s, had left the Halloween-themed candle bag burning while she was out of the house briefly to pick up her daughter. The neighbour spotted smoke in the upstairs window and dialled 999.
Firefighters discovered, on entering the house, that the fire, which was contained to the blind and window sill, had burned itself out.
Candle bags are flame-retardant paper bags which, when a tea light is placed inside, create both indoor and outdoor lighting effects. They are becoming increasingly popular and are similar in concept to Chinese lanterns, used for special occasions such as Hallowe’en, Christmas, birthdays, weddings, festivals and other events.
Littlehampton fire station watch manager Ian Paine said: “Thankfully, the fire was contained to the window area and didn’t spread, but potentially this could have been a serious incident.
“It appears that the occupier used more than the recommended number of tea lights to create a really bright decorative effect. The excess heat they created caused the window sill and blind to begin to melt.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve been called to an incident specifically involving a candle bag. However, like any product that involves a naked flame, it’s vital that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed very carefully.
“We would also stress how important it is to keep these kind of products out of draughts and well away from curtains and other flammable materials.”
Ian urged everyone to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their home and to test them regularly – the best way to protect against fire. He added: “We offer free home fire safety checks, so why not call our community fire safety team on 01243 642879 to find out if you are eligible for one.”