Unattended Candle Causes House Fire, Injures 6-Year-Old


Rutherford County, TN—Rutherford County Fire Rescue (RCFR) officials say an unattended candle caused a house fire Friday morning, resulting in the injury of a six-year-old child.

Just before 11:30 a.m. Friday, RCFR and Almaville Fire Department responded to the home on Longview Drive. Crews were able to contain most of the fire to a bedroom area, where the fire originated, but other areas of the home also received some fire and smoke damage.

The child, asleep in the bedroom at the time the fire broke out, was awakened by the fire nipping at her toes. She was transported to Saint Thomas Rutherford and treated for minor burns.

“Fortunately, this situation did not result in further harm to the child or anyone else in the home,” said Lt./Asst. Fire Marshal Joshua Sanders. “An inadequate number of working smoke alarms in the home resulted in delayed notification of fire.”

Sanders said the only working smoke alarm in the home was not located near the affected bedroom.

“Working smoke alarms outside of the bedroom area are extremely important,” Sanders expressed. “Having the proper amount of working smoke alarms in your home can cut your risk of home fire death in half.”

Sanders also says it’s important to practice safety measures when burning a candle in your home. “Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle,” he warned. “Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid use of candles in the bedroom or other areas where people may fall asleep.”

Lastly, Sanders states, “Be sure to keep burning candles at least one foot away from anything combustible or flammable.”

The National Fire Protection Association lists the following additional safety tips if you DO burn candles in the home:

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip easily.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down—put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use in a power outage. Never use candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.

For information on RCFR’s smoke alarm installation program or additional questions about candle safety, please contact RCFR at 615-867-4626.