Since December 2005, nearly $2 million in property damage and 8 injuries have transpired in the Santa Clarita Valley as a result of home fires that occurred from candles. Reported candle fires nation-wide have increased three-fold in the last decade, prompting fire officials to provide safety tips aimed at prevention.
To that end, the City and the Fire Department will host a press conference on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Boulevard, first floor, at 10:30 a.m. In Santa Clarita, the tragic fire at the Ewart home in Valencia in December resulted in serious injury to family members and the destruction of their home. The cause was a candle left unattended. Just a few weeks later, a fire in an apartment house resulted in property damage and was also the result of an unattended candle. “Candles have become an increasingly prevalent cause of home fires and it is imperative that we get the message out that we all need to be vigilant about how we use candles,” explains Matt Gil, Assistant Fire Chief for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Gil and City Manager Ken Pulskamp participated in a neighborhood vigil on the night the Ewart family fire occurred. Community-wide support has helped the family recover from the devastating fire and both Gil and Pulskamp have vowed to do everything they can to prevent another candle fire from happening. “People forget they have left a candle burning and what can happen is the candle can burn down and ignite a room in a very short time. We recommend people extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep, that they keep candles away from items that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains, and that people use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily and are made from a material that cannot burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax,” explains Chief Gil. “I absolutely do not want another house fire in our community. I will be working with Chief Gil to help spread the message of candle safety and prevent another tragedy,” commented Ken Pulskamp, City Manager. The press conference on January 25 at 10:30 a.m. at city hall will include Mayor Laurene Weste, Assistant Fire Chief Matt Gil and City Manager Ken Pulskamp who will provide further details regarding candle safety and how the City and the Fire Department will be helping to spread this message.