Two Ocean County houses were damaged by fires caused by Hanukkah menorahs two nights in a row.

A fire at Ilan Court in Lakewood was started Monday by a menorah candle too close to the window shades, according to fire Chief John Yahr. That fire caused minor damage.

Yahr told The Lakewood Scoop that the family ran out of their house when the fire started but a neighbor was able to use a fire extinguisher to put out the initial flames.

A two-story house on Fiddlers Run in Toms River suffered major damage on Sunday night when a fire extinguisher failed to work on a small fire caused by an unattended menorah, according to Toms River Chief Fire Inspector Kevin Esposito.

After the homeowner's fire extinguisher failed, fire Chief Dan Roman ran to the house with another extinguisher as a fireball blew out windows on both floors, spreading the fire to the second floor.

The flames were quickly extinguished but the house was deemed unsafe by fire inspectors. Red Cross New Jersey said on their Twitter account that a family of six was displaced.

"Candles, menorahs, incense and oil burners are one of the most common causes of fire within homes during the holiday season. It is really important that you never leave a candle or menorah unattended and keep them away from curtains and anything else that can easily catch fire," Esposito said in a statement.

Esposito also offered these tips for safe use of menorahs:

  • Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface: Your menorah, especially when lit, should rest on a stable fixture in your home.
  • Keep the menorah and matches out of children’s reach: Make sure that your menorah is positioned in a place where your children can enjoy it but is out of their reach, so they don’t hurt themselves.
  • Be sure to store all matches and lighters safely after each candle lighting; kids may find them if left out.
  • Place menorah out of reach of pets: Keep your menorah at a height where they can’t get their paws on it.
  • Do not walk around with lit candles: Choose the area of your home where your menorah will be lit, then keep it there. Do not carry your menorah from room to room to avoid potentially dropping it.
  • Place your menorah in a secluded area of your home: It is important to keep the menorah out of your home’s general flow of traffic to avoid accidentally knocking it over.
Firefighter at a house in Lakewood after a fire started by a menorah
Firefighter at a house in Lakewood after a fire started by a menorah (Lakewood Scoop)

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