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Candle Incident Burns Three in Frostburg

December 28th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State Fire Marshal investigated the events surrounding an incident this weekend after three Frostburg residents were injured, including one who was transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital for their injuries. 

On Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 10:15 p.m., Frostburg Fire Department and Allegany County Department of Emergency Services were dispatched to the 16000 block of Duck Hill Drive in Frostburg for multiple burn patients. Upon arrival, firefighters and EMS personnel discovered three adults with various degrees of burns to their bodies. 

The preliminary investigation by Deputy State Fire Marshals determined isopropyl alcohol was being added as a fuel source to a decorative candle. However, there was still an open flame inside the candle, and as the isopropyl alcohol was added, it ignited and was unintentionally splashed onto the victims. Allegany County Department of Emergency Services personnel treated the victims on the scene and were subsequently transported to UPMC Cumberland. One victim was later transported to UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh for additional treatment. All injuries have been reported to be non-life-threatening. Investigators have concluded the incident as an accident, and no charges will be filed. 

The aesthetic advantages of fireplaces and candles are irrefutable. From a warming fire during the winter to the ambiance brought to a dinner party or a romantic evening, advantages are numerous. And that is the reason why an increasing number of homeowners are opting for an ethanol fireplace or new alternative wickless and non-traditional candles that bring in all of the benefits of this feature but without the needless mess.

Unlike traditional fireplaces, ethanol fireplaces do not require a chimney, vent, or flue, nor do they require a gas line. Tabletop or freestanding ethanol fireplace and wickless candles are portable – some can even be used indoors and outside. This means easier installation, with plenty of choices to suit any space, including wall-mounted, two-sided, and even hanging ethanol fireplaces.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is providing the following tips if you or your family decide to use one of these products:

  • You should always store your ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in the container sealed and in a safe location that is away from kids.
  • Ethanol burns clean; therefore, it can be difficult to see if the flame is still lit. Be sure to double-check before you attempt to move or refuel your fireplace.
  • Only use approved fuel in your fireplace or candle. Using un-authorized types of ethanol or isopropyl alcohol can result in personal injury as well as fire damage to your personal property.
  • Always clean up spilled ethanol or isopropyl alcohol immediately. You don't want to have flammable liquid spilled on your possessions.
  • Use a long match or lighter to get your fireplace lit. This is important as in some scenarios, your fireplace or candle can light on fire in a flash that can burn your hands.
  • Never move a lit ethanol fireplace or isopropyl candle. This is such an important tip to follow as any spilled fuel could ignite a much larger fire that could put your home and self at risk.
  • Never refuel your fireplace or candle while it is still lit.
  • Never leave your fireplace or candlelit and unattended.