A burning candle that was left unattended destroyed an Advent wreath and damaged the top of a table at a High Ridge home Dec. 17 around 7:35 p.m.
The Ridgefield Fire Department responded to a call about heavy smoke from the homeowner.
“She came back to house and didn’t know what was burning but said that smoke was everywhere,” said Fire Chief Kevin Tappe. “It turned out to be an Advent wreath — she had left a candle lit and it had burned all the way down to the table and the wreath caught on fire.”
Nothing else in the home was damaged, he added.
“It’s a good thing she came home when she did,” Chief Tappe said. “It could have been a lot worse.
“It serves as a good reminder to those who want to burn candles —burn them while you’re home, but don’t forget to blow them out when you leave.”
Urging Ridgefield residents to make the holiday season a safer one, the fire department has created a checklist for those preparing to decorate their homes:
• Remember to check all Christmas lights before using them.
• Water your fresh Christmas tree every day.
• Never block exit ways with your tree.
• Never leave Christmas lights on when you leave home.
• Make sure all power cords are the right size and do not overload them.
As for candles, Chief Tappe warns residents to be careful and know the inherent dangers of leaving an open flame.
“Candles are a part of the holiday season, but they are one of the leading causes of fatalities from fire during the season,” he said. “People should make sure they are away from flammable items and always put them out when they are out of sight or out of the home.
“The leading cause of structure fires happen in the kitchen,” he added. “The holiday season means more cooking and baking, so please be safe in the kitchen.”
Chief Tappe said another danger is heating equipment — fireplaces, woodstoves, and electric heaters.
“Never have Christmas decorations too close to heaters and always change your batteries in your smoke detectors and CO detectors,” he said.
“In the month of November there were 60 fatalities in 26 states,” he added. “The breakdown in fatalities were 27 males, 30 females and three genders unreported.”
“Be safe this holiday season, and Merry Christmas from the men and women of the Ridgefield Fire Department,” Chief Tappe said.