A FAMILY of six has been left temporarily homeless after a candle caused a bedroom fire.

Essex Fire crews were called to reports of a fire in a semi-detached house in Brook Hill, Little Waltham on Sunday at 7.42pm.

Crews found a fire which had started in a back bedroom after an unattended candle set fire to bedding and clothes and spread to the loft and roof. 

The family was alerted by a smoke alarm and escaped unharmed. 

Crews, from Chelmsford and Basildon, fully extinguished the fire by 8.46pm.

Watch Manager Simon Beardsley said: "This incident highlights the dangers of leaving candles unattended; it only takes a moment for a naked flame to start a fire that can spread very quickly.

"Thankfully there was a working smoke alarm, and the occupants were able to get out and call 999.

"However, the property was badly damaged, and the family have unfortunately been left homeless as a result."

Crews have now also issued safety advice on candles following the incident.

  • Never leave candles burning unattended - put them out when you leave the room and make sure they're completely out at night
  • Do not leave children alone with candles
  • Don’t move candles once they are lit
  • Make sure candles are away from materials that might catch fire
  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and keep the wax pool clear
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning
  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring
  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring

They have also reminded residents of the importance of smoke alarms.

A spokesman said: “Smoke alarms save lives. They can alert your family as well as your neighbours and passers-by to a fire in your home if you're not home.

“We recommend you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you test them at least once a month.

“If you or someone you know doesn’t have working smoke alarms, please get in touch.

“Visit essex-fire.gov.uk/book or call 0300 303 0088.”