Video: Mother helps launch safety campaign

PUBLISHED: 16:27 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 26 October 2009

A MOTHER of a firefighter who was killed in a blaze has helped launch a safety campaign. Cyndy Harper launched Herts Fire and Rescue s campaign this week to warn people of the dangers of tea lights. Her son, 28-year-old Michael Miller, was one of two fire

A MOTHER of a firefighter who was killed in a blaze has helped launch a safety campaign.

Cyndy Harper launched Herts Fire and Rescue's campaign this week to warn people of the dangers of tea lights.

Her son, 28-year-old Michael Miller, was one of two firefighters who died in the blaze in a Stevenage tower block in February 2005.

The fire was started by a tea light left burning on a television without a holder. As well as the two firefighters, resident Natalie Close also died.

As part of the campaign, a roadshow was at the Oaklands College campus in WGC, today (Wednesday) to get the message across to students.

Firefighters will also be taking to the streets to spread the warning.

Cyndy said: "My son would probably still be here today if the tea light which caused the fire had been in a holder.

"I know I can't bring Michael back, but I want to do all I can to prevent anyone else from coming to harm.

"I'm passionate about this campaign which I'm sure will go a long way to raise awareness of the dangers of using tea lights.

"Not a day goes by that I don't miss Michael. It's heartbreaking to think that his death could have been prevented by doing something so simple."

Mrs Harper is urging people to put tea lights in a holder when they use them.

She said: "If this stops just one fire which could have claimed a life, then my son's death will not have been in vain."

Chief fire officer Roy Wilsher said: "This campaign is particularly important to us in Hertfordshire as we lost two valued colleagues in the Stevenage fire.

"The tea light campaign is dedicated to their memory and we want to prevent anyone else losing their life in this tragic way.

"Often people are unaware that the foil holder is only designed to contain the wax. But tea lights can reach extremely high temperatures - the foil container becomes extremely hot - so if they are placed directly onto a plastic surface, like a television, stereo or even the edge of a bath, the tea light will burn through the plastic very quickly, causing a fire.

"And once that fire has started people would be horrified at the speed at which it can take hold of a room."

Tea light safety advice

* Always burn tea lights in or on a suitable, non-flammable holder on a heat resistant surface

* Don't let anything fall into the hot wax, including spent matches

* Never place tea lights directly on plastic surfaces such as TV's, computers or baths

* Never leave a tea light unattended and remember to extinguish before going to sleep

* Ensure candles are stable and cannot be knocked over

* Keep away from draughts or blowing curtains

* Keep tea lights away from children and pets

* Make sure you have a working smoke alarm fitted and check it regularly


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