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of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Thursday, 22 November 2007, 12:59 GMT
Candles spark alert in power cut

A family who lit candles during a power cut which then burnt through a television could have died, West Sussex fire teams have said.

The occupiers placed two candles on a television but then left them unattended, in Hurstpierpoint.

Fire commander Edward Bunn said: "In a power cut, people will use candles, but many are unaware of the dangers."

He said if smoke alarms had not alerted residents the house would have been filled with lethal smoke on Sunday.

He said because of the deadly carbon monoxide the people "may never have woken up".

Mr Bunn said candles should not be placed directly on to surfaces such as televisions and they should be extinguished before people go to bed.

The family, who were alerted by alarms, placed a damp tea towel over the television, before closing the doors and leaving the property.