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October 18, 1996
(Municipal and Provincial Affairs)

Bleeding hand-shaped candles a potential fire hazard

The Office of the Provincial Fire Commissioner is alerting the public about a potential fire hazard associated with Halloween novelty candles.

The candles, which are being marketed as the "Bleeding Hand" are in the shape of a human hand. They are from five to seven inches high with a wick on each finger and are being sold as Halloween props and/or decorations.

Tests conducted in other jurisdictions have shown that when the candles are lit the flame on the five finger wicks may combine to form a single flame over six inches high. While the extreme flaming is not evident when the candles are first lit, this may happen without warning about 20 minutes later. The candles also melt rapidly, creating large pools of hot wax in a relatively short period of time.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner will be conducting tests and, depending on the results, retail stores may be asked to refrain from selling them.

In the meantime, the fire commissioner is asking individuals lighting these candles to use extreme caution. They should not be located in areas where they could ignite clothing, window curtains, etc., and should be placed on large metal or glass objects large enough to catch all of the hot wax. A large cutting board could be placed under the candle container to prevent heat damage.

The fire commissioner also says the burning candles should be supervised by an adult at all times and should not be moved. As well, a spray bottle or baking soda could be used to extinguish the flame.

According to the fire commissioner, all candles or other open flames should be used with extreme caution at Halloween to ensure they do not pose a risk to trick-or-treaters.

Contact: G. Callahan, (709) 729-3142.

1996 10 18 5:00 p.m.

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