Letter to the Editor

Candle, sewer fire safety tips

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

To the editor:

Thank you for making Missourian readers aware of the hazards of candles and of leaving sanitary lines open while commodes are being repaired.

Our fire district has already received questions about how to reduce the risks of bathroom repairs and candles. We thought our recommendations might be of interest to other readers.

Professional plumbers advise us that they do not use rags or paper as those can easily fall into the pipe or be knocked off. When a commode is removed they immediately cover the opening with a piece of flexible plastic backed by cardboard or plywood and carefully seal it with duct tape.

The lowest risk use of candles may also be one of the least costly. Three stores we checked today had decorative metal holders priced from $1 to $2 that would hold the less expensive candles sold without glass holders. Care should still be taken to ensure that a total meltdown of the candle would be retained in the bottom of the container. A second shallow dish or metal pan would reduce the risk further.

In all cases the candle suppliers recommend not burning for more than four hours, never leaving lighted candles unattended and not using candles in front of a fan or in a breeze.

JOHN SACHEN

Hazmat officer/instructor, Delta Fire Protection District

Delta, Mo.