St. Charles family surprised that Christmas present caused loss of home

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Fire burns a St. Charles couple out of their home but the source may surprise you.

It has prompted firefighters to issue a warning about the danger of one of the top holiday gifts year after year:  jar candles.

“The three most popular days to have candle fires in the United States are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve,” said Asst. Chief, Steve Brown, with Central County Fire & Rescue.

That glass jar may be giving people a false sense of security when it comes to burning candles.

Darius Morrison just gave two jar candles to his mom as early Christmas gifts.

“I thought it being a glass jar, I’m actually surprised a fire would break out still, with it being contained and all,” he said.

A fire did break out less than a block away early Monday morning.

It was sparked by an unattended candle,” Brown said.

“It was a candle in a jar.  It was one of those you buy at the local store you inherently think would be safer than a regular candle because it’s contained in glass.  Unfortunately, whenever those candles burn down or are left unattended, the glass can break, it can flame up, or it can be too close to combustibles.  This candle was too close to some combustibles,” Brown said.

The couple had working smoke detectors.  They escaped unhurt and even woke the neighbors before calling 911.

Still, the flames left behind an estimated $50,000 in damage and the couple has had to find another place to live, Brown said.

“After that candle has been burning for a long time, especially when it starts to burn down if you touch that jar you’ll see it’s very hot to the touch,” he said.

He recommends electronic flameless candles.

At the very least make sure you don’t leave any combustibles, like a magazine, near a candle, even if that candle is in a jar.  Never leave a candle unattended and do as Morrison’s mother says, blow them out before you go to sleep.

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