A candle left burning after a St. Peters resident went to bed resulted in a condominium fire in St. Peters on Thursday evening. The resident escaped, but was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation treatment. It is estimated there is $100,000 in fire and water damage to the home in the 300 block of Devonshire Court in St. Peters, Missouri.
“We’re heading into the holiday season, when we see a spike in candle fires. It is easy to get busy and forget a candle is burning, this is why we strongly recommend our residents only use battery operated candles. There is no reason to have the dangers of an open flame as decoration,” said Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Assistant Chief Steve Brown.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 23 home candle fires every day in the United States. Falling asleep is a factor in more than 10% of these home candle fires and 21% of the associated deaths.
CCFR responded to the fire at around 10:15 p.m. and discovered a fire in the finished lower level of the two story condominium complex. After the occupant escaped they notified the firefighters that there were still three cats inside the unit.
“Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack but were met with a large amount of fire blowing up the stairs out of the basement. They located the three cats, none of which were breathing as they were brought out of the home. The crews were able to resuscitate one, but unfortunately the other two passed away from their injuries,” said Brown.
It took fire crews from CCFR and the Cottleville Fire Protection District around 15 minutes to extinguish the fire. St. Charles County Ambulance provided medical care on the scene and the CCFR Community Assistance Program REHAB-95 provided assistance to the resident and first responders on the scene.
CCFR fire investigators completed a thorough examination of the scene and interview with the resident and confirmed that the fire was started by a candle that was unprotected and left burning. Adjoining condominium units did have slight smoke intrusion, but no fire damage that prevented the occupants from remaining in the homes after the incident.