Spokane family escapes fire sparked by candle

Fire burns part of a bookshelf
Copyright KXLY 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — During the holidays, cozying up with a few candles around the house sounds like a lovely idea. According to the Spokane Fire Department, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the most common days for candle fires.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

“It shows the human factor in fire,” said Jamie Mcintyre with the Spokane Fire Department.

For the Eaker family, it’s not only a reminder of what was lost.

“I was downstairs with my daughter and then my husband came down kind of frantic and said that the house was on fire,” said Tiffany Eaker.

It’s also a reminder of what was saved.

“It was crazy because two of the rooms were closed upstairs, the closet was closed, and they were completely untouched by the fire,” said Eaker.

The fire happened back in May 2019. The Eaker family didn’t want to go on camera, but shared their story with the Spokane Fire Department.

The family was vacuuming and had a candle burning nearby on a shelf. The pressure of the vacuum pulled a nearby curtain into the flame, starting the fire.

“There was only about that much of clean air, so I ducked down,” said Eaker.

According to the Spokane Fire Department, you should always crawl low because smoke rises. A photo posted to the Spokane FD Facebook page is a prime example of that.

You can see the top of the shelf is a complete loss, with almost everything completely burned. As you get lower, you can see that items basically look untouched.

“As you can see, this door was closed during the fire. Up here, we have the high heat marks where the smoke was trying to get in. The door itself gave those people a few extra minutes,” said Lt. Dan Strobeck with the Spokane Fire Department.

While some things are out of our control, what we can control is how we prepare for the unexpected.

“It could pretty easily happen to anyone,” said Mcintyre.