The house was clean, the candle wicks were trimmed and the candles were carefully placed in their holders on the mantle, (safely out of reach of the little ones to coma) and then they were lit. Christmas music was playing from the TV (closed & behind the armoir... we don't have a stereo:( I pods however, we have;)
The ham was in the oven baking away and all was ready to go. My knitting basket was snuggly placed out of the way of the food and chaos- (with projects both in process and gifts ready to be wrapped) next to the fireplace. The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care- in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there...Sorry bout that... but, it was a picture of Christmas party readiness;) Our family arrived. The kids were anxiously playing upstairs, asking every two minutes, when it would be "present time." All was Happy Christmas chaos and bliss;)
Until, I was taking the ham out of the oven and heard shouts from the living room. Adult shouts. "Tracey! The candle is melting all over!" I ran into the living room to find an absolute WATERFALL of vanilla scented wax dripping off the mantle onto the floor, a longaberger basket full of knitting, wrapped gifts that were placed on the floor (that could have been kindling) the woodwork, wall and the fireplace tools. WHAT A MESS!
Several already finished squares for my Mitered Square Blanket were ruined. 2 Christmas gift- ready headbands (knitty's calorimetry) and a number of skeins of good yarn. Hours and hours of work all ruined. In the 40 minutes from candle lighting to dinner prep, the candle (a large square pillar) had melted through the side, smoked from the top- (leaving soot on my wall) and flowed hot wax like lava over the mantle, down the wall and into my knitting basket and onto the carpet..
Our picture of Christmas bliss had almost become a Christmas inferno. I'd estimate $400 in damages- counting the work involved in the property damaged and the clean up. The knitted objects were a complete loss. The basket is wood- the wax was easy enough to remove but the waxy oily residue will now be a part of the "finish" permenently. Diminishing the collectible value. (yes- I collect them.... I know.. Iknow) How sad. I won't even mention the upset this caused during our Holiday!
I can't tell you how many Partylite candle parties I've been to. I have always found them the highest quality, and best burning. I've never had drip problems and have most certainly NEVER had a lava-flow of dangerous wax before. But this problem? This one has put a damper on my candle use. Quite possibly- a permament one. (They remain out- but unlit. Pretty, but pointless when it comes to candles.)
The pics are all from post clean-up. The waterfall o'wax and most heavily damaged projects/yarn had to be put out to the trash in the middle of the party.
I am posting in hope of saving my readers from a similar potential catastrophe.
Potential- catastrophe because:
1) I never leave candles unattended, or lit, in the reach of little ones. I am so thankful there were observant family members in the living room! Which probably saved us from a house-fire. I'm also glad no little ones wandered over to the wax dripping from the mantle- I was dripped on when I went to clean it up- not an awful burn, but on a little one, it could have been terrible!
2) I take fastidious care of my candles (wick trimming, centering, etc) and rarely use anything but partylite... (which I've always counted on for safety and quality in the past) But even with care- candles can be dangerous and damaging.
3) Compared to what could have been- the damages are upsetting, and a loss, but minimal when you think of the damages a fire would have caused.
So- as you're re-decorating for the new-year, lighting candles you've been given as gifts or getting ready for your next gathering... BE CAREFUL. Candles are fire. Fire is dangerous. (yeah, I know you know.... but you know- I'm a Mom... I have to say it;)
FYI- (mostly on the urging of my mom- a retired insurance adjuster and Grandma supreme...) I've contacted Partylite and am waiting to hear back from them. I will post an update when they respond. Also- as previously said, Partylite Candles have been my absolute favorites.... I hope this was a sad and messy fluke.
But- ladies- (and gentlemen)
Labels: consumer product warning, home-keeping, random domesticity