Fires caused by candles result in $390 Million in claims for property loss or damage. It is estimated there are 165 fatalities each year from burning candles. Retail candle sales are increasing every year with a 700% increase in the past 10 years. Women are more likely to be killed or injured in residential candle fires than are men. Upon reading manufacturer surveys, the greater number of injuries to women is no surprise, 95 percent of all candle buyers are female. More candle fires occur during December than any other month with 24 percent of all candle fires taking place in December and January.

Adjusters investigating residential candle fires should be alert to two concerns: (1) arson and (2) subrogation. As every smart arsonist knows, making an intentional fire look “accidental” is a sure way to get paid. For fires that are truly accidental rather than intentional, third-party recovery should not be overlooked. There have been a number of consumer product recalls for candles that posed a fire or burn hazard.

 Fire loss claims are best adjusted from a team approach with an experienced field adjuster, cause and origin expert, and a seasoned Oklahoma insurance attorney.

Arson defenses and subrogation recovery potentials need to be evaluated early in the context of the available evidence and spoliation issues. Engaging an Oklahoma law firm immediately following a reported fire claim can mean all the difference.