Candle safety warning following fatal fire

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East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice on how to take care with candles after a fire in Lewes proved fatal.

A candle is believed to have started the flat fire in Crisp Road on 23 December 2016 that lead to the death of Roy Obee.

Despite the efforts of fire crews who gave him CPR at the scene, he died several days later in hospital.

An inquest held in Eastbourne on July 6 heard that he was receiving support from a treatment centre based in Brighton and he had taken both prescribed and recreational drugs.

Coroner Alan Craze concluded an accidental death due to smoke inhalation.

Fire investigator Richard Moon said: “Any loss of life leaves us extremely saddened, and our thoughts are with those who knew Mr Obee.

“We believe a candle started this fire, and the fire spread while Mr Obee was in the flat. This incident demonstrates how dangerous candles can be and that extra care should be taken when using them.

“We want to remind members of the public that they should have working smoke alarms on every level of their home as they give early warning of a fire.

“We also know that alcohol, drugs and medication can hinder a person’s ability to respond in the event of a fire and this is something people should be aware of.”

Home Safety Visits

If you know someone who you think might be at a greater risk of a fire or have fire safety questions about your own home, please get in touch with the fire service.

Specially trained advisors can visit and give you help and support. Please call: 0800 177 7069

Candle safety

Take care where you decide to put candles in your home.

Candles are best placed:

– on a heat-resistant surface - be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic

– in a proper candle holder, so they don’t fall over

– out of the reach of children and pets

– out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire

– with at least 1 metre (3 feet) between the candle and any surface above it

– with at least 10 centimetres (4 inches) between any two candles

– away from clothes and hair - if there’s any chance you could forget where a candle is and lean across it, put it somewhere else

Make sure you put out candles before moving them and don’t let anything fall into the hot wax, like matchsticks.