FIREFIGHTERS say four people were extremely lucky to escape a house fire near Malpas caused by a candle in the early hours of this morning.

The two adults and two children escaped the blaze in Threapwood, near Malpas, by climbing down a ladder with help from a neighbour.

Two North Wales crews from Wrexham and a Cheshire crew from Malpas attended the incident in Threapwood after being alerted to the fire just before 1am.

A man and a woman in their thirties, together with two girls aged eight and four, were trapped on the first floor after a candle set a ground floor room alight and the property became heavily smoke logged.

North Wales fire control operators provided vital fire survival advice over the telephone while appliances were mobilised to the scene. A neighbour was able to assist all occupiers in escaping from a first floor window via a ladder. All four occupants were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Firefighters used four sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reels to tackle the fire.

Tony Jones, from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The occupiers were extremely lucky to escape from this fire, especially as the property had no working smoke alarms - there is no doubt the survival advice given over the telephone saved their lives.

“Candles can easily develop into a fire and every year we see countless incidents where an open flame left unattended can leave a trail of devastation.

“The fire was confined to the room of origin on the ground floor, causing 20% fire damage and 80% heavy heat damage – but the entire property was heavily smoke logged and prevented the occupants from escaping down the stairs. Without a smoke alarm this could easily have led to tragedy but luckily they smelt the smoke and were able to escape with the help of neighbours.”

People using candles are advised to follow the safety advice below:

Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder, on a stable surface, and away from materials that may catch fire - such as curtains.

Children and pets should never be left alone with lit candles.

Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.

Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, but avoid draughts, vents or air currents - this will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.

Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.

Don’t move candles once they are lit.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use

Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder, as these candles are designed to liquify when heated, to maximise fragrance.

Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare.

Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out which may cause sparks.

Tony added: “Even with these precautions, it’s vital to be prepared should the worst happen. A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to get out, stay out, and call 999. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by testing your alarm regularly and by planning and practising an escape route.”