WATSEKA, IL – A local resident has been displaced after a tragic fire, suspected to have been ignited by a candle, claimed the lives of two dogs in a Watseka home Sunday night.
According to Watseka Fire officials, the blaze took hold of a home in the 400 block of East Oak Street, consuming the first-floor dining room and causing extensive damage. It was later discovered the residence lacked smoke detectors.
Watseka and Crescent City fire crews, alongside Riverside Ambulance, battled the flames for over 90 minutes. The homeowner was absent at the time of the fire, faces the distressing aftermath of displacement and loss.
While candles offer ambiance, they remain a significant cause of home fires and fatalities. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns that December is the peak month for home candle fires. Shockingly, over one-third of these fires originate in bedrooms, largely when flammable items are placed too close to the candle.
Considering the risks, residents are urged to opt for battery-powered flameless candles, many of which mimic the appearance and scent of real candles. For those still inclined towards traditional candles, precautions like keeping hair and loose clothing away from flames, maintaining a safe distance from flammable materials, and always supervising burning candles are critical.
Candle Fire Facts highlight the severity of the issue: From 2015 to 2019, candles were responsible for 2% of reported home fires, 3% of fire-related deaths, and 6% of injuries. Alarmingly, 37% of these fires began in bedrooms, with over a third leading to deaths.
The NFPA also reveals that falling asleep contributed to 10% of these incidents. On a daily average, 20 candle fires were reported, with a significant peak observed in December and January.
Such sobering statistics underscore the importance of fire safety, especially in colder months. The recent Watseka incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers that lurk when we light a simple candle.
Source: NFPA Research Division