Break the Chain A Burning Sensation

Updated (6/16/2001) This alarmist and uninformed chain warns that those popular gel candles pose a significantly increased fire hazard. Unfortunately, it does more to frighten and misinform than to educate.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

FYI - If burning candles is your thing.

Subject: Fwd: FW: Fw: Gel Candles - PLEASE READ PLEASE FORWARD!!

Hi all, my former secretary had a terrible thing happen to her and her family last week, and I wanted to share it with all of you so that you could be warned and warn your friends and family as well.

She had a gel candle burning in her bathroom...it exploded and caught her house on fire...the house burned down and they have lost everything.

The fire marshall told her that this is not the first incident where a gel candle has exploded and caused a fire. He said that the gel builds up a gas, and often times it explodes and sets fire to the room it is in, which is what happened to her.

The fire was so hot it melted the smoke alarm, and they didn't discover the fire until there was an explosion, which was her toilet blowing up, and then it was too late...the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames.

Smoke damage and water damage have destroyed what wasn't destroyed by fire.

I know that there are roomies and friends that I don't have on this list because I can't remember how to spell their screen names...please pass this along to anyone I missed. I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else. Her family is devastated. All their mementos and everything of value and meaning are gone.

I'm not trying to bring anyone down...just a friendly warning to all of you about the use of gel candles left unattended.

Thanks and take care!

NOTE: Marty and I know a lady who loves the gel candles. She had one burning on her mantle and it caught fire just like in the message above. She was at home at the time and saw it happen and grabbed the candle to keep it from setting her home on fire and it came apart in her hand. She saved her home but suffered 3rd degree burns to her hand and 3 fingers! Please, if you or anyone you know have these candles, don't light them, they are dangerous.

Please, pass this on.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

As this chain circulates, it has picked up a few more "real life" examples.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Thought you all need to know about this since you love to burn candles.

This came from a friend in Texas.

jw

My former secretary had a gel candle burning in her bathroom ... it exploded and caught her house on fire. The house burned down and they lost everything. The Fire Marshall told her that this is not the first incident where a gel candle has exploded and caused a fire.

He said that the gel builds up a gas and often times it explodes and sets fire to the room it is in, which is what happened to her. The fire was so hot it melted the smoke alarm, and they didn't discover the fire until there was an explosion, which was her toilet blowing up, and then it was too late...the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames. Smoke damage and water damage have destroyed what wasn't destroyed by fire.

Another incident, "Mary" had one burning on her mantle and it caught fire just like the message above. She has at home at the time and saw it happen and grabbed the candle to keep it from setting her home on fire and it came apart in her hand. She saved her home but suffered 3rd degree burns to her hand and 3 fingers.

And as if those two stories weren't enough...My husband was home on vacation and had a gel candle lit on the top of the entertainment center. He too saw the candle burst into flames. His first instinct was to blow the candle out. Well, that didn't work; so he blew harder.... the gel from the candle splattered and went everywhere; everywhere including his face. He had 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over his face. The gel doesn't cool like wax does, so the bits that were still on his face continued to burn him. And you can't wipe the stuff off; it just rolls up and keeps burning.

Another friend had a similar experience. She received as a gift a gel candle from Avon. It was contained in a wine goblet, was sort of purple gel with glitter in the gel. She had it on her dresser in the bedroom. Once when it was burning, the entire solid turned to liquid and the glitter pieces "jumped" randomly out of the wine glass, taking drops of gel with it, getting all over the dresser and window curtain. A weird scene to say the least. Needless to say, she put the flame out and emptied the remaining liquefied gel into the toilet.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

The notion that gel candles pose a greater fire and burn risk than traditional candles is basically true. But the reasons given above are not exactly accurate.

Gel candles do not "build up a gas" nor do they "explode and set fire to the room they're in." Like wax, the gel substance is used because it is non-combustive and slow-burning. The "explosion" is caused not by the gel but by the container it's in. When glass is heated, it becomes more fragile. Imperfections in the glass or surfaces that are too thin can cause it to break.

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
Wax and gel candles can both break, but incidents are slightly more frequent with gel candles because they burn a little hotter than wax. What poses the biggest risk isn't what's in the jar, but what's around it. If there are no readily combustible substances near the flame, it will burn until its fuel supply (oxygen and the gel or wax) is used up, then extinguish itself.

Here's a "real-life" example that, unlike those given above, is true and verifiable (but not nearly as sensational). I had a gel candle jar break and have to admit that the "pop" it makes when it breaks could possibly be mistaken for an explosion. But instead of setting fire to the entire room, it just crumbled where it sat and burned out. Admittedly, had I not been in the same room with the candle or if it had been closer to combustible materials like curtains or paper, the results could have been disastrous.

Smart burning practices can ensure your safety no matter what type of candle you are dealing with. Burn the candle on a non-flammable, heat-resistant surface such as a metal or ceramic plate. Keep the candle away from flammable substances like curtains, paper and furniture. Never leave a burning candle unattended (this means being in the same room, not just being in the house while the candle burns upstairs). Break this chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: To Your Health
References: None

HOME | Privacy & Copyright