Candle-sparked fire on Redlands reminder of seasonal hazards

A fire sparked by an unattended candle and fueled by a bird’s nest caused minor damage Sunday to a two-story, wood-framed home on the Redlands.

A quick response by the Grand Junction Fire Department limited damage to around $3,000, Battalion Chief John Williams said.

Williams said the incident is a reminder to use candles safely. Never leave lit candles unattended, never place them near sources of combustion and keep them up and away from the reach of children, he said.

At 3:43 p.m., firefighters received the call about the fire, which was at 2366 Rana Road. Minutes later, 17 firefighters, three engines, an ambulance and a patrol car from the Grand Junction Police Department were on scene.

A candle burned unattended on the fireplace mantle, and the wall caught fire. The fire was fueled by a large bird’s nest between the chimney and the chimney chase, Williams said.

“It was burning behind the wall inside the chimney chase,” he said.

The fire was quickly extinguished, and the homeowner was allowed to return to her house after firefighters rolled up their hoses.

Given the changing season, many Grand Valley residents may be tempted to spark up a toasty fire in the fireplace or strike up a wood stove for home heating. Before doing so, be aware that almost half of the home-heating fires in the United States occur during the winter, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Before stoking any flame, here are a few precautions from the Grand Junction Fire Department:

Have chimneys inspected yearly and cleaned if necessary.

Use a sturdy fireplace screen.

Allow ashes to cool before disposal in a metal container.

Turn portable heaters off before going to bed.

Never use an extension cord with a space heater.

Inspect electric heater plugs for cracks and loose connections before using.

Keep flammables, such as bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet from heaters.

Install smoke detectors throughout the home and check batteries and test monthly.

Never use an oven to heat a home.


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