A warm and inviting home can help offset the misery of the cold winter months. For many people, creating a welcoming space includes the use of fire for heating or decorative purposes. A roaring fire in the fireplace adds ambiance to any evening or social gathering. A scented candle or perhaps a tabletop lantern can add the quaint, flickering charm of fire.
Unfortunately, while candles and fires can warm you up and improve your mood, they can also put you, your family and even your neighbors at risk of injury, death or property loss. It only takes a few seconds for an overzealous cat to knock a candle into the curtains or for a large bit of ember to shoot out of the fireplace and land on your carpet. Unless you have someone waiting to handle it, a little flame could turn into a massive fire in no time.
There are many other serious fire hazards
While most people know that leaving a fireplace going or a candle burning unattended could increase your risk of a fire, there are other risks that you may not know about. In fact, candles and fireplaces aren’t even in the top five causes of house fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the single biggest cause of house fires in the United States. After that, heating equipment like space heaters or fuel stoves come in second, followed by electrical equipment and lighting, arson and materials for smoking.
Any kind of fire poses a serious risk of personal injury, death and severe property damage. Falling asleep with a pipe, cigar or cigarette burning could prove to be a fatal mistake. Having working smoke alarms in your home can be the difference between minor damage and a total catastrophe.
Fires cause immense damage and severe injury
Injury risks aside, fire has the ability to render your entire home uninhabitable and many of your possessions destroyed or irreparably damaged by smoke. In some cases, the structure may end up condemned; condemned buildings are demolished and rebuilt instead of repaired and fixed. Depending on your living situation, many other people could be affected by a single fire. Those who live in apartment buildings, duplexes or condos can damage the homes of dozens of others with a single mistake, like leaving a pot on the stove too long.
In situations where people end up hurt or killed or lose substantial amounts of property due to a home fire, compensation may be available. Lawsuits can help some victims recover their lost wages, property damage and medical expenses related to the fire, especially if negligence or wrongdoing played a role in the fire’s beginning.