- Ada, Oklahoma

September 28, 2013

Scented wax might have been cause of house fire

Art Lawler Staff Writer

OAKMAN — A flameless candle wax believed to have been placed inside an improper container is blamed for a structure fire in this community Thursday afternoon.

Thanks to quick work from fire departments in Ada, Byng and Homer, the blaze was limited mostly to the kitchen and second floor, though Assistant Fire Chief David Painter estimated damage to the home at $25,000 — plus another $5,000 worth of damage to contents due to water and smoke.

The home, located at  10324 County Road 3585 near Oakman, is owned by Patty Elliot and had been leased less than a year ago to Sean and Tonya Weaver. Their daughter, Courtney, 22, was visiting Thursday.

In a situation where seconds were vital, firefighters might have gotten a break when Courtney phoned her mother, who is employed at an insurance agency in Ada.

Another employee at the agency, Hope Haines, then quickly called her husband, Lance, an Ada firefighter.

He got help to the site quickly.

Palmer said a non-wick, no-flame wax designed for safety erupted in fire when it was apparently placed on a gas stove in an improper container.

The product is designed to go into a Crockpot-type device with a small light bulb underneath. The bulb gradually warms the wax, creating the fragrance.

Firefighters said the wax was put into a makeshift container and placed on an open burner to melt.

By the time firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed and the flames had gone through a vent to the second floor.

Wearing their SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus packs), they worked their way into the kitchen and began spraying the fire with water.

To keep the blaze from going through the attic and roof, one of the Ada firefighters, Danny Manual, being smaller and leaner than the others, was the obvious choice to crawl through a very hot attic.  

 Manual said he crawled on his knees in about a 2.5-foot tall area of attic space from one end of the home to the other, opening the vents on either end. To make himself small enough, he had to take off his SCBA pack and carry it in one arm while working in the heat and smoke.

  The smoke escaped the attic. The fire below was then easily extinguished, Painter said.

 Manual was seemingly no worse for wear, though drenched with sweat.

 “It was pretty warm up there,” he said,heading for the EMS truck.

  Painter said the fire has been ruled as accidental. Tonya Weaver, visibly upset, leaned her head against a fence.

“At least working for an insurance company, I had good renter’s insurance,” she said.