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As candle sales grow, so do fires

With the popularity of aromatherapy and "cocooning" at home, sales of candles are aglow. The National Candle Association says the industry has grown by 10 to 15 percent since 1990, with yearly sales estimated at $2 billion.

At the same time, fires that involve candles are up, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). While the total number of fires caused by candles is small, about 2.4 percent, they still cause substantial damage.

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A NFPA study shows that bedrooms were, in half the cases, the place where fires started, except during the month of December. In that month, which saw the highest number of candle fires, more conflagrations occurred in living rooms than bedrooms.

The main causes: candles left unattended, lit too close to combustible material, or handled by children. The most common materials ignited: mattresses and bedding.

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