Thursday, February 25th 2021, 9:50 am - An innocent mistake led to a terrifying ordeal for Hillary Cohen and her partner, Dan Cholewa.
Earlier this month, plunging temperatures seized Texas, triggering devastating power outages.
During that time, house fires spiked as residents used unconventional heating devices and open flames to keep warm.
Based on data from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C., candles can be a common source of fires, especially during outages, causing an average of 800 fires and an average of 8 deaths, 115 injuries, and $26.2 million in property damage annually.
Hillary Cohen of Montreal, Quebec knows all too well how dangerous they can be.
Over the weekend, she was burning two candles in her bedroom when she noticed a large flame coming from one.
"It looked like the wax was on fire," Cohen tells The Weather Network.
"The fire was about three to four inches above the glass of the candle."
She and her partner, Dan Cholewa, ran to get water to extingiush the fire.
Pouring water on the candle triggered a loud explosion, creating a 'fireball' that reached up towards a battery-operated ceiling light which burst into flames.
A photo of the candle after the explosion. Courtesy: Hillary Cohen.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the fire didn't spread throughout the home, but Hillary says she's having trouble sleeping in the aftermath.
The National Candle Association recommends using a candle snuffer or some sort of lid to extinguish a candle. The organization says using water can cause hot wax to splatter, which is one way an explosion can occur.
Courtesy: Hillary Cohen.
Other times, fires can start due to product failure. In January, for example, Health Canada issued a recall of some three-wick soy brand candles due to high flames igniting on the surface of the wax, creating a potential hazard.
Hillary says she's hoping to get the word out about the dangers of mixing water and lit candles, and prevent future disasters.
"The entire situation was scary," she says.
"The sound that you hear from [the explosion] and actually seeing that fireball in our house ... I thought our house was going to blow up."