Local News

Angier Boy Burned by Citronella Candle

Posted July 28, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Three weeks ago, an 8-year-old Angier boy learned the hard way that you don't put out a citronella candle with water.

Tommy Jones grabbed a garden hose to douse the flames when he noticed the oil in the candle was still burning. Instead of putting the fire out, Tommy ignited an explosion similar to what happens when you try to use water to put out a grease fire. His face, arms and hands were scorched with second-degree burns. He lost his eyebrows and eyelashes and his hair was set on fire.

Tommy's brother and a friend put the flames out, but Sharlene Jones says her son was still smoking when he reached the back door of their home. Fire officials say the oil in the candle is what set the explosion off.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received a handful of reports since 1994 from consumers who say they were badly burned when they threw water on a citronella candle.