A FAMILY home was devastated by a fierce fire started by a candle.

A 24-year-old woman was babysitting and was upstairs with a boy and a girl, both aged four, and a two-year-old girl when the fire broke out in the lounge at the semi-detached home at Melrose Close in Dalton.

She smelled smoke at around 3.30pm yesterday, went downstairs to investigate and spotted a fire near the fish tank and so quickly led the children to safety.

Huddersfield firefighters arrived to find the house well alight.

Investigations later revealed that a candle in a glass candle holder on top of the fish tank had burned down, possibly fallen over and then set the settee on fire.

The house had no smoke detector on the ground floor, and firefighters issued several urgent safety warnings in the aftermath.

Watch commander Chris Bell said: “It was very lucky the babysitter smelled the smoke or we could have been dealing with an even worse situation. Although there was a smoke detector upstairs it had not been activated as the smoke had not yet reached it, but there was no detector downstairs. There needs to be one on every floor.

He said investigations revealed the heat from the candle base had melted the top of the fish tank, causing the candle holder to topple over.

“Never leave a candle unattended and never put it on a combustible material,’’ he said.

And he also revealed that the front door had been left open when the youngsters escaped and, as a result, the oxygen fed the fire, causing it to spread quickly.

“Always close the door to stop oxygen getting to the fire,’’ he said. “And close all the downstairs doors at night.’’

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