Candle catches wreath on fire, causes $20,000 damage

Aaron Krause • Jan 5, 2014 at 6:27 AM

A candle caught a wreath on fire in a Bellevue home Tuesday, causing $20,000 worth of damage.

Once ignited, the fire caused light smoke to spread throughout the Fairfield Avenue residence, said Brian Sears, acting chief of the Bellevue Fire Department.

There were no injuries.

Sears said there were no working smoke detectors in the home, so he's unsure how the female resident was alerted to the fire.

"Something must have alerted her to it," he said. "I have no idea how she noticed it."

She told firefighters she had a candle burning above her fireplace on the mantle and it caught the wreath hanging above the wall on fire. The wreath burned and fire spread up the wall.

Firefighters opened the wall to check for an extension to the fire, but none was found. Firefighters ventilated the home.

There was $5,000 worth of property damage and $15,000 worth of damage to contents, Sears said.

Sears said while the fire caused damage, he didn't know if the home was livable. The woman has insurance, Sears said.

Eleven trucks responded to the scene and were there from 11:03 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. Firefighters installed three smoke detectors. Sears encouraged people to have them.

"Candles start a lot of fires," Sears said. He added an alternative to traditional candles might be preferable, since they don't create an open flame.

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