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Northern Ireland living room destroyed after Christmas decoration falls on candle

By Claire Williamson

A living room has been destroyed in a fire caused by an unattended candle left burning too close to Christmas decorations.

On Tuesday December 6 the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended a house fire in west Belfast.

There were no injuries as a result of the incident but the NIFRS has issued a warning of how quickly and easily a fire can take hold in the home at Christmas.

The female resident had left the property for a very short time and when she returned she discovered a fire in the ground floor of her house.

A Christmas decoration had fallen onto a small candle which was left burning on the hearth.

Firefighters attended the scene and the fire was quickly extinguished.

Geoff Somerville, NIFS Group Commander said: "The house has been badly smoke damaged as a result of the incident.  The Fire Emergency Support Service was also in attendance to offer assistance to the householder.

“We are very grateful to the householder for her co-operation in highlighting the dangers of unattended candles in the home.  Christmas is traditionally a busy time for NIFRS as incidences of fire in the home increase due to extra fire hazards such as candles, fairy tree lights, portable heaters, overloaded sockets and people using fires that have not been lit for some time.

“I’m asking people to give priority to fire safety and not to become complacent about it over Christmas.  Check that you have working smoke alarms fitted in your house."

Christmas Fire Safety Advice

  • Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Don’t use lights with worn or frayed cables.  Turn off lights at night or when you are leaving the house.
  • Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings.  Don’t leave them burning unattended.
  • Make sure your family and guests staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency.  Make a fire escape plan.
  • Decorations can burn easily – don’t attach them to lights or heaters
  • Never overload electrical sockets.
  • Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely.  The risk of accidents is greater after alcohol is consumed.
  • Most fires start in the kitchen – never leave a cooker unattended
  • Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to bed
  • Test your smoke alarm every week and make sure to replace the battery or the smoke alarm if it is not working
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children
  • Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas – make sure they are fire safe.

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