Shedding light on fire risks

PUBLISHED: 10:52 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by the fire service to educate people about the dangers of tea lights. The use of tea lights without a holder is extremely hazardous and in 2005 two firefighters died trying to rescue a woman from a blaze in a Stevenage tower

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by the fire service to educate people about the dangers of tea lights.

The use of tea lights without a holder is extremely hazardous and in 2005 two firefighters died trying to rescue a woman from a blaze in a Stevenage tower block started by their use.

Cyndy Harper, the mother of Michael Miller, one of the dead firefighters, helped launch the tea light roadshow on Monday which later visited the Smallford and St Albans Oaklands College Campuses and the University of Herts.

She said: "Not a day goes by that I don't miss Michael. It's heartbreaking to think that his death could have been prevented by doing something so simple."

The campaign is being run by Herts Fire and Rescue Service with the support of Herts Trading Standards.

Chief Fire Officer, Roy Wisher, said: "This campaign is particularly important to us in Herts as we lost two valued colleagues in the Harrow Court fire. The tea light campaign is dedicated to their memory and we want to prevent anyone else losing their life in this tragic way."

He added: "Often people are unaware that the foil holder is only designed to contain the wax. But tea lights can reach extremely high temperatures - the foil container becomes extremely hot - so if they are placed directly onto a plastic surface like a television, stereo or even the edge of a bath, the tea light will burn through the plastic very quickly, causing a fire. And once that fire has started people would be horrified at the speed at which it can take hold of a room."

Always burn tea lights in a suitable, non-flammable holder on a heat-resistant surface, keep away from draughts or blowing curtains and never leave a candle unattended.

To show people the destructive consequences of using an unprotected tea light, Herts Fire and Rescue Service has created two short videos which can be viewed on www.hertsdirect.org/fire

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