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Garden Torch Candles Potential Fire Risk

November 06, 2006 Written by  Canadian Garden Centre
Late in 2005, the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) informed Health Canada of the fire risk associated with garden torch candles.  The concern was recently raised again due to the increased availability and popularity of these candles in the marketplace.
Late in 2005, the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) informed Health Canada of the fire risk associated with garden torch candles.  The concern was recently raised again due to the increased availability and popularity of these candles in the marketplace.

Burn tests conducted by the OFM and by Health Canada on several types of garden torch candles confirmed that they present a fire risk to consumers because the candle flames may ignite the support stake that is embedded in the wax.  Sometimes, burning pieces of the support stake break off and ignite nearby objects.  The support stake also may crack, causing the candle to tip over and ignite the surrounding area.  In one case, the flaming wick fell to the ground and continued burning even after the wax had been used up.  Hot, dripping and splattering wax and very high flames also have been reported with these types of candles.

Any retail company that knowingly sells a product that causes property damage, injury or death may be held legally liable for not meeting their minimum duty of care under the civil law.  Currently, Health Canada’s Consumer Product Safety program is developing the Candles Regulations under the Hazardous Products Act.  Precautionary labeling and other safety requirements are under discussion for inclusion in the Regulations to reduce the significant and growing number of candle fires in Canada.

As a retailer, do not knowingly sell candles with components that can ignite, other than the fuel and the wick.  Before purchasing the candles for sale, ask your supplier to provide you with fire safety test results.  If the information is not available, have the candles tested yourself or do not purchase the candles.

Safety Tips for Your Customers:
•    Burn candles outdoors only.
•    Place the candle securely in an upright position in soft earth or a bucket of sand, away from anything that can catch on fire, such as grass, plants, mulch, overhanging branches, fences, buildings and other structures.
•    Never group garden torch candles.  If using more than one torch at a time, place them at least one candle length away from each other.
•     Avoid burning the candle in windy conditions.
•     Use a garden hose or bucket of water to put out a garden torch candle, or smother the flame with a metal utensil.
•     Stop using the candle when 50 mm of wax remains.
(Source: Health Canada)

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