Candle Likely Cause of Fire at By-pass 28 Residence

A structure fire left a local family and their home with little harm, but also created an opportunity for Fire Chief George Klauber to warn residents about an often-overlooked holiday hazard: the lit candle.
The Fire Department responded to a report of smoke in the single-family home at 86 By-pass 28 on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 5:34 p.m., Klauber said.

A search of the building confirmed that both residents and pets had made it out safely. The fire, in the home’s kitchen, was quickly contained, Klauber said.
Though the family had reportedly gone out to do some Christmas shopping, they had left a candle burning, and Klauber said that was most likely the cause of the blaze.
“This family went out, and while they went out, the candle ignited some wrapping paper,” he explained.
The Fire Department was alerted by a family member, who came home and noticed extensive smoke, Klauber said. He immediately called 9-1-1, Klauber said.
There was minimal damage to the kitchen and living room, Klauber reported, and smoke and heat damage throughout the split-level ranch-style home.
Three Derry engines, a ladder truck and the battalion chief on duty responded along with Klauber, who lives in the area. In addition a Londonderry ambulance stood by and the Red Cross assisted the two adult residents and three children displaced by the fire.
Station coverage was provided by the Chester, Londonderry, Salem and Hampstead departments, Klauber said.
Klauber took this opportunity to remind his constituents about the dangers of unattended candles. One shouldn’t leave the room with a candle burning, let alone the house.
“We have this discussion all the time,” he said of people in the fire prevention community. “Candles are delightful, they set a mood and they can have a lovely fragrance but they’re dangerous.”
According to the Derry Assessor’s online database, the house is owned by Brenda Smith and has an assessed value of $168,400.