Ooops... a candle burned itself out... hot enough to shatter the heavy glass plate under it.
Yikes... hot enough to scorch the wall and shelf above the candle.
Holy cow... hot enough to cover the walls and ceiling with invasive and oily soot.
OMG... look at the soot on the closet curtains.
Silent awe... what happened here?
I think the pictures tell most of the story, but I'll give you a few details. Last weekend I joined my neighbor in her studio to do a holiday show. She makes soaps, lotions, candles, etc. I bring beaded jewelry.
Below a section of my display. I fill a small room with jewelry, including an 8 ft. table, a bookcase, a large dresser and this desk.
The room I'm in is normally a guest bedroom with a small bathroom attached. Just before the sale started, I lit a candle sitting in a bed of lavender on a glass plate on a shelf in the bathroom. After the show ended, we decided to leave our displays up for a day or two, in case someone who couldn't make our regular hours might want to come and take a look. We blew out the candles, picked up our purses, locked the studio and headed for home.
Obviously, either my memory of blowing out the candle is false OR I didn't get it completely out. Because during the night and the next day, the thing burned. The wax of the candle and the lavender (remember, it's used in smudging) flowed together and smoldered, creating an unbelievable amount of soot that went everywhere in the bathroom and bedroom. The outlet is an interesting thing. An electrician came to check for damage and said the electrical current in the wiring to the nightlight (which was plugged into the outlet) attracted soot. The streak you see above the outlet goes three feet up the wall.
It took a while for it to dawn on me how serious this was. Just a little hotter and the towel next to the candle would have caught fire, which would have made the curtains flame. A fire could easily have destroyed the whole building along with all my jewelry and all of Gayle's products and antiques. We were blessed. I was especially blessed, because I was the one who lit the candle and therefore responsible for making sure it was completely snuffed before leaving.
As I mentioned, the soot went everywhere. Below is a jewelry box that was under the table, as far from the candle as you can get. There were two tent-cards for earring display sitting on top of the box. You can even see my finger prints where I picked up the box.
Everything in both rooms got a dusting of soot. I had to wash all of the jewelry and re-card/tag it (two days work). Many of the boxes and all of my signs got trashed. The soot washed out of all the linens, curtains, towels, etc. fairly well using dish-detergent and bleach. The carpet in the bedroom will have to be professionally cleaned. Monday, we will try to wash the walls, ceilings and furniture.
Thankful prayers... Soot we can clean. Fire would have been a disaster.
Warning... Candles are a common causes of home fires. It's easy to forget to blow them out and even when you do, there could be an ember burning that gets them going again. From now on, I plan to use the buddy system. When I light a candle, I will ask a buddy to help me remember to blow it out... I'll also wet my fingers and pinch the wick to make double sure it's out.
Read more about candle safety, especially at Christmas time, here.