Candle causes fire in a house in Dunbar

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Neighbour rescues woman prior to fire service arrival

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Operations Control Edinburgh received a call at 8.34pm last night (Sunday 17th November) to a fire in a living room in Ashfield Court in Dunbar.

A female occupant was trapped upstairs and could not exit the premise due to smoke filling the stairway. A male neighbour pitched a ladder at the bedroom window and managed to move her to safety. Other neighbours attempted to get through the main door, but could not get in because of the smoke.

Fire crews were immediately mobilised from Dunbar, East Linton and Haddington and on arrival donned breathing apparatus to enter the property and extinguished the fire with a hose reel.

The fire had been caused by candles left unattended downstairs.

Station Manager Ritchie Hall said “I highly commend her neighbours, as their actions most certainly saved her life.”

The female did not require hospital treatment.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "Whether you are using candles to scent or decorate your home please remember to extinguish them before you go to sleep and never leave them unattended. Fortunately a working smoke detector alerted the occupant to the fire providing that vital early warning.

“We urge every household to have working smoke detectors and test them every week.  We provide free home fire safety visits and fit smoke detectors where required.  If you know someone who can benefit from our service, why not get them to give us a call?”

To request a home fire safety visit, call the SFRS freephone number: 0800 0731 999, text “check” to 61611, or visit the website at

This week is candle safety week. Here are a few tips for using candles safely in your home:


  • Put candles in a proper candlestick holder – the heavier it is at the bottom the better because it won’t tip over
  • Make sure the candle fits the holder tightly so it doesn’t fall or get knocked over by accident
  • Put candlestick holders on a flat, stable, heat-resistant surface
  • Keep candles out of winds and draughts
  • Keep candles clear of clothes, curtains, cushions, papers and other things that burn easily
  • Always put them out properly before leaving the room – use a metal snuffer or wet your fingers and pinch the wick where the flame starts


  • Leave a lit candle alone – even for a few seconds
  • Lean across a lit candle – you could set your hair or clothes on fire
  • Place on soft furnishings (like cushions) or plastic (like TVs, baths that are made of plastic (acrylic). Even acrylic toilets can melt and cause a fire
  • Put candles on shelves – they can heat up the shelf above and cause a fire
  • Put them on top of heaters or in the middle of the mantelpiece. An unlit candle can melt in the heat below and catch fire
  • Allow children to play with candles, lighters or matches
  • Use them if you’ve been drinking alcohol or feel sleepy