Candles Lead to House Fire!

Real Estate Agent with Edina Realty

Burning House

This fire happened yesterday, early evening.  It happens to be near and dear to my heart, because it is my niece's first house.

Have you ever shown a house that had candles burning?  Ironically, just the other day, I learned my Seller had "several candles burning, in fact they were in every room" the agent said.  The Buyer's Agent also told me she blew them out before she left the home.  Needless to say, I called my Seller immediately and we had a chat about safety.

I'm guilty as the next guy/gal and happen to love candles.  The call I received yesterday, however, has changed my perspective.  Please take caution when burning candles, and make sure your clients and loved ones do as well.  I don't know the exact percentage, but I heard from a local firefighter that many house fires are caused by candles.


Comments (16)

Diana Corcoran
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties - Rhinebeck, NY
Rhinebeck Real Estate

Great reminder.  I have found candles burning more than a few times when showing homes.  I always blow them out and call the listing agent to give them a heads up about what the seller did.  So sorry about your niece's house.

Jan 10, 2009 10:05 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Your poor neice!!!  How horrible but at least no one was hurt.   Last St Patricks Day I had a family who did not want a last minute showing on their home.  I convinced them to go out for an hour and allow the showing.  About 45 minutes later I received a phone call from the Fire Dept wanting a cell number for the home owners as their house was engulfed in flames!  They managed to rescue the dog and cats that were still inside but the house was destroyed.   All I could think was they left candles burinng to combat the dinner odours and that I had insisted they leave for this showing.  Their young cat was always rubbing on the glass jar candles when I was there.  The fire department confirmed it was the wiring thank goodness and that it could have surged at anytime.  It was lucky they were not home and in their beds! 

Jan 10, 2009 10:17 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Diana - I can't imagine leaving candles burning while nobody is home ... and some Sellers intentionally do it.  I know it's easy to forget you have one burning, but to intentionally leave them burning is absurd.  Thanks for stopping by!

Jan 10, 2009 10:30 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Susan - Your story is goose-bumpy!  Thank goodness you talked them into leaving.  I can't imagine how terribly horrified you were to get that call.  I'm glad the pets were rescued.

Jan 10, 2009 10:33 AM
Barbara Delaney
Park Place REALTORS, Inc. - Roanoke, VA

Dear Darla,

This is so important! I think sometimes we don't take the time to educate our clients.

Candles are nice, but must be attended. A seller should not leave the candles on, if he will be away from the home for any amount of time.

A good agent will check it out, if they notice them. If you are showing during the day, you might not even see them.

Candles should be in a glass container and not close to anything flammable.

I was having a Christmas open house- candles were everywhere! Most of my guests had gone, but several lingered in the dining room.

My cat had been hiding, but now the number of people suited her. She walked around the windows and set her tail on fire! Fortunately, one of my guests was an animal person and checked her out.

She was fine, but terrified, as was I.

So sorry about your nieces place.

Jan 10, 2009 10:38 AM
Maria Mastrolonardo, IL Probate Specialist
RE/MAX of Naperville & RE/MAX Enterprises - Naperville, IL
Illinois Probate Realtor

Darla - How horrible and at least no one was hurt, but it's a great reminder for us all.

Jan 10, 2009 10:43 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Barbara - That is just one more reason to not have candles burning .. OUR PETS!  I am very happy to hear somebody was there to help your cat.  I can't even imagine that experience.  My niece and her son are fine, but their little furry friend died.

Jan 10, 2009 10:50 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Maria - Yes it is horrible and I hope a lesson was learned.  I'm very thankful my niece an her son are okay.

Jan 10, 2009 10:52 AM
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

Ive shown houses before that had candles going when we walked. .  I once blew everyone out that we passed and recieved a very angry call from the Listing agent?  I now just leave the candles lit if they were lit when I walk in. 

I had to host Christmas Eve this year and the candles became a hazard.  They looked good, but we opted to blow them out and have our fun, there were to many kids aound to mess with them. 

Candles are great and smell great until they burn down your house!   I yell at my wife for forgetting about candles, and she yells at me for yelling at her about candles.  As much as I like candles, they are dangerous. 

Sorry for your neices loss. Im also glad to hear that she only lost her home and not her life! 

Jan 10, 2009 10:55 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Chad - I love your comment "Candles are great and smell great until they burn down your house!"  Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 10, 2009 11:04 AM
Brenda Harmon
Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas - College Station, TX

I love candles but never would intentionally leave them burning while not at home.

Jan 11, 2009 09:01 AM
Johnathan Mullaney
Village Land Shoppe - Flagstaff, AZ
Broker, Flagstaff Real Estate

Yeah, people leave them burning quite often, I always wonder, aren't they worried?

Jan 11, 2009 09:41 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Brenda - Candles aren't safe unless they are attended.  Unattended candles are very dangerous.  I love them too but am going to be more conscious about when I burn them now.

Jan 11, 2009 10:07 AM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Johnathan - I guess we could put it like this to anyone who leaves candles burning while they are not home ... "Be prepared to come back home to a vacant lot".

Jan 11, 2009 10:11 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

It does create a nice atmosphere when the seller stages the home for mood and showings, complete with burning candles, soft neutral music and good lighting, but ohhh so dangerous to leave candles burning!

Jan 12, 2009 11:00 PM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

Evelyn - Candles are very nice, I agree.  They just cannot be left unattended.  I haven't lit mine since my niece's house fire.  I'm tempted to throw them away.

Jan 14, 2009 12:46 PM