Mary’s narrow escape after blessed candle nearly causes a fire

Mary Canny (front, far right) pictured with Carndonagh Fire Brigade memebrs Joe Butler, Brian Breslin and Eddie Doherty (back row) and'Bernie McDaid MTA, Laura Marzan S/N, Carndonagh Day Hospital, in which Ms Canny is a service user.

Mary Canny (front, far right) pictured with Carndonagh Fire Brigade memebrs Joe Butler, Brian Breslin and Eddie Doherty (back row) and'Bernie McDaid MTA, Laura Marzan S/N, Carndonagh Day Hospital, in which Ms Canny is a service user.

  • Mary Canny forgot about a blessed candle she had lit for a friend
  • The candle began to burn into the window sill, near fabric blinds and curtains
  • A smoke alarm which had been installed through a community initiative a week before alerted her to the danger
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A Carndonagh pensioner has told of her narrow escape after a blessed candle she had lit to pray for a friend nearly caused a fire.

Ms Mary Canny had left the candle burning on the bedroom window sill and forgot about it.

Luckily, just a week previously, two members of Carndonagh Fire Brigade had installed smoke detectors in her home, which is in a rurally isolated area.

These were successful in notifying Ms Canny of a fire which was trying to catch hold, allowing swift intervention to extinguish the danger.

The smoke alarm sounded a while after Ms Canny lit the candle, which has begun to burn into the sill. The danger was heightened by the fact there were fabric blinds and curtains on the window which was beside her bed.

Ms Canny acknowledges that the sound of the alarm reminded her of the burning candle and quick intervention limited the damage that could have been done.

While she still prays for people in need, she doesn’t leave burning candles unattended. She is, in fact, considering buying a modern battery operated candle instead.

She remains grateful to local fire and hospital staff for installation of smoke alarm and yearly updates on household fire safety.

Since 2008 Donegal County Council has targeted vulnerable members of the community and has provided more than 2000 homes with smoke detectors since then.

This initiative was done in conjunction with Donegal County Council’s Community and Enterprise section and in some cases directly by the Fire Service as research has shown that having a working smoke alarm can reduce the risk of fire death by 50%.