FIREFIGHTERS are warning residents to take precautions with open flames after a candle was responsible for setting a house alight.

Crews from Billericay, Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Basildon were called to the incident in Beaufort Road, Billericay earlier today (March 22) at around 10am.

Residents noticed a candle had caught the curtains alight and the occupants got themselves outside safely and called 999.

A spokesman said: “When fire crews arrived, they reported that the first floor of the detached house was completely full of smoke and the fire was in one of the bedrooms.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately went into the house and quickly extinguished the fire.

The fire was caused by a candle which was on the windowsill next to an open window.

The breeze had blown the curtains near the candle and the curtains caught fire.

The fire then spread quickly throughout the bedroom and caused extensive damage to the bedroom, ensuite and loft area.”

The service has offered some tips on reducing the risk of a candle fire including:

• Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and are away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.

• Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they are put out completely at night.

• Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.

• Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.

• Do not move candles once they are lit.

• Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring.