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Candle Catches Garland On Fire in Novato Home

Damage kept to a minimum, but the Novato Fire District says it provides a strong warning about holiday decorations.

A homeowner extinguished a small fire Monday morning, but the Novato Fire District said the circumstances are an excellent lesson for the holiday season.

Unattended candles on a living room mantle burned down to their bases and lit a strand of garland that had been draped on the mantle, according to Novato Fire Battalion Chief Mark Heine. The fire was reported at 10:53 a.m on La Merida Court in the San Marin neighborhood and caused a small amount of damage, he said. The mantle fire extended to a nearby wall-mounted painting and scorched the ceiling. The homeowner put out the fire and then called 911.

“It was a close call,” Heine said. “The family is fortunate to still have their home.”

Fire crews checked to make sure the nothing else was still burning and then helped evacuate smoke by using a large electric fan. Firefighters installed a smoke alarm in the lower level hallway.  

Although often used for holiday ambience, candles can easily ignite nearby decorations. Fire prevention specialist Sandy Wargo said candles must be tended to regularly and not be placed close to combustibles. “It is best to blow or snuff out all candles when you leave the area for any length of time,” she said. 

Wargo recommended battery-operated candles to reduce fire risk and maintain a festive feel, and she reminded residents to test their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms regularly.

More holiday safety suggestions can be found here.

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Sylvia Barry December 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Definitely need to be careful during the holiday season with your beautiful candles, lights, XMAS trees, garlands, wreaths, wrapping paper, and cooking ...

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