Safety message issued after house fires ignited by incense sticks

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has issued safety advice about the use of incense sticks after they were involved in two separate house fires.

Crews attended a house fire in Keyston in Huntingdonshire on the morning of April 30, while less than an hour later crews were called to similar fire in Soham.

A fire service spokesman said: “These fires were both started by incense sticks that had been left unattended. Lighting incense is a common and popular way of spreading aromatic scents around the house. However residents often overlook the risk they can pose if left unattended, particularly if close to curtains or by a window. House fires from incense sticks initially ignite when hot ash falls directly on to carpet or flammable surfaces.

“Incense and candles can be dangerous if left unattended, so always ensure they are placed in a draught-free area, well away from curtains, furniture or other flammable surfaces. Make sure you leave plenty of space around the area and ensure that the surface is flat and stable. Taking the necessary precautions can help protect your family, property and belongings.”

Make sure you follow these top tips when lighting incense:

  • Purchase an incense stick holder so the ash falls on it.
  • Place them well away from curtains, furniture or other flammable surfaces.
  • Leave plenty of space around the area and make sure the surface is flat and stable.
  • Never leave incense sticks or candles unattended. It's really easy for them to fall over and set nearby items on fire.

For more information about staying fire safe in the home, visit the home safety section.