“Most fires caused by candles happen during the winter months. More than 40 percent of all home fires during the year, caused by candles, happen during December,” said Anders Lundberg at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd oct beredskap, MSB.)
Last year 78 house fires in Sweden were caused by candles, compared to 18 during the month of November, according to the agency.
On an annual basis candles only cause three percent of the total number of house fires, but December stands out as a clear exception, when the number rises quickly to 12 percent.
“Of course we shouldn’t stop lighting candles in the winter darkness, but we need to be more cautious about how we handle them to decrease the risk of fire in our homes,” Lundberg said.
Ten days into December, Swedish fire departments are kept busy.
Early on Sunday morning, a 26-year-old man was killed in an apartment fire in Nässjö east of Jönköping.
About twenty firefighters worked to put the fire out and get the young man out of the flat, but he was later declared dead by medical staff at the local hospital.
A house in the exclusive area of Saltsjöbaden just outside Stockholm was burned to the ground during the weekend.
Fortunately, the residents were all able to escape the flames, but the fire was described as “fully developed.”
“We have personnel from three fire stations on the scene, and a total of six trucks,” firefighter Kaj Broberg told the Expressen daily.
Also on Sunday morning, fire savaged the large shopping centre Nordstan in Gothenburg, where a good 50 firefighters worked for hours to control the flames.
However, in this case the firefighters believe that the fire was started in some faulty cables.