By: Katie Jones
A Clinton woman is in critical condition and a candle is to blame. Mary Joe Rowland is in an Iowa City burn unit tonight after her house caught on fire early Sunday morning and firefighters said these accidental fires can easily be prevented. Sherry Dykema is trying to cope with the tragic accident that left her mother with severe burns on nearly a quarter of her body.
"It sounds like mom had somehow lit a candle and somehow it started a fire and she's not mobile so she was stuck in the chair," Dykema said.
Stuck with flames spreading fast, Clinton fire Lt. Mike McQuistion said the woman's lucky to be alive. She had dropped the candle onto some newspapers next to her recliner then the recliner caught on fire," Lt. McQuistion said.
During the cold winter months, Lt. McQuistion said candle, chimney and furnace fires are all too common. "Fire places can pose a hazard especially when they're not cleaned regularly. The Chimney's get full of soot and if they're not cleaned those pose a great threat, we've already had a chimney fire this year." Lt. McQuistion said.
He said you should use common sense. Clean your heating equipment, and blow out candles when you leave the house.
"An open flame is always dangerous. Accidents happen whenever you have an open flame so you have to make sure it's not near combustibles such as drapes upholstery or furniture," Lt. McQuistion said.
Fire crews said this time of year it's also easy for Christmas decorations to catch on fire so make sure you water your tree and turn off the Christmas lights when you're not home.