Candles bring holiday warmth and dangers

The advent wreath in a quaint old church, a romantic dinner for two and the eight nights of Hanukkah just wouldn’t be the same without the glow of candlelight. Decorative candles are an integral part of the holiday season, encompassing warmth and powerful religious significance.

Candles are also a hot selling gift item this year, as the bountiful arrays of wax works of art consume more and more space in retail establishments. And, what better way to conserve energy than to light a candle and turn out the lights?

Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of unattended candles troubles fire officials. The incidents of house fires are increasing as the popularity of candles intensifies.

If a candle is among the gifts on your list this year, a second thought might be appropriate. Certainly, a thoughtful moment ought to be spent sharing a lesson in fire safety before any match is struck. A message that matches are tools should replace the vague and confusing "don’t play with matches" speech in every parent’s repertoire.

There is a time and a place for responsible use of candles and supervision is a key element. Even when a fire isn’t fatal, recovering from the blaze can be expensive, both physically and emotionally. Fire prevention is priceless.

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