December is Peak Month for Candle Fires

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG-- December is the peak month for candle fires with many people trying to be festive and enjoy the smells or look the candles can bring.

In the United States, 42 fires are started everyday because of candles. Even candles surrounded by glass can become dangerous if the wick gets down to the end and cracks the glass.

That's what happened to a group of James Madison students over the weekend, when a candle fire grew much larger on South Mason St. They left the candle unattended and too close to things that might burn.

Harrisonburg firefighters say during the holiday season never put them near Christmas trees because trees can catch on fire quickly.

They also say to leave candles at least 12 inches away from anything that might catch on fire as even a small flame from a candle can grow quickly.

"It doesn't take very long. Fire has a propensity to expand itself exponentially. It doesn't grow in small increments. It grows very, very fast. One thing that's different between fire fighters and the general public is we know how fast it spreads, and the general public doesn't, and it's too late, and they've had a fire," said Cpt. Arthur Miller from the Harrisonburg Fire Dept.

Those James Madison students are all okay. Their house suffered about $10,000 worth of damage, but they're lucky it wasn't anything more.


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