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Candle causes duplex fire south of Everett

By Leslie Hynes, Snohomish County Fire District 1 Public Information Officer.

A candle sparked a fire that injured a man and displaced two families from a duplex south of Everett Monday night, November 23, 2015, according to fire investigators.

The fire was reported about 8 pm in the 400 block of Center Road in unincorporated Snohomish County. One unit of the two-story duplex was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office investigators determined the fire started when a child knocked a lit candle off a dresser in the master bedroom. The candle rolled under the bed and ignited paper or clothing beneath the bed.

The fire spread to the box spring and mattress before the father was alerted to the fire. He was injured while attempting to move the burning mattress to the balcony off the second-floor master bedroom.

Four children were home with their father at the time of the fire and got out safely. A woman and two children in the adjoining duplex also safely exited.

Paramedics transported the injured man to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. His injuries did not appear to be life threatening. Fire officials have no further information on his condition today.

Firefighters from Fire District 1, Everett and Lynnwood responded to the fire and had it under control within about 20 minutes.

They were able to keep most of the flames contained to the second floor of the duplex where the fire started.

The second floor of the unit where the fire started was heavily damaged. The fire also damaged the balcony of the neighboring unit and firefighters had to pull down ceiling in both units to check for fire in the attic.

Both units are uninhabitable. Red Cross is assisting the residents -- a family of seven from the unit where the fire started and a family of four from the neighboring unit. Neither family has insurance.

With the holidays coming up, more people are typically using candles. Nationally, December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires.

We encourage people to consider using flameless, battery-powered candles. They look and smell like real candles, but don’t pose a fire risk.

Fire District 1 offers these additional tips for candle use:

  • Keep candles well away (at least 12 inches) from anything that can burn.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom or other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Use candleholders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.

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