A number of people suffered smoke inhalation after a candle left burning started a fire at a flat in Gosport.
The blaze was in the rear bedroom of a flat in a three storey building in Brockhurst Road.
Firefighters from Gosport and Fareham fire stations were called to the scene at 10.40pm yesterday.
Seven people were evacuated from the building but nobody had to be rescued. Five needed treatment at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters said the blaze started after the occupier of the flat had lit candles and then left the building.
Two appliances from Gosport and one from Fareham attended the scene with a total of 16 firefighters.
Watch manager Glen Stone, said: ‘The fire started in the third floor of the building by someone who left tea light candles unattended.
‘The bedroom was severely damaged by fire.
‘Two thirds of the building was affected by smoke.
‘The tv had melted on to the chest of drawers so the plaster was off the ceiling.
‘The bedroom and the bed clothes were smoke damaged.
‘But what made the difference was that there was an open window so it was ventilating.’
Watch Manager Stone sounded a warning to people considering lighting candles.
‘You can’t stop people from lighting candles,’ he said.
‘But tea lights should be in an appropriate holder if they are going to use them.
‘They were just put on the top of the tv and the side of a music unit.
‘I would suggest if you are going to use lighted candles don’t leave them unattended – and don’t consider to light candles if you are under the influence of alcohol.
‘If you can avoid it, don’t use candles.’
Firefighters then went into the building and ventilated the flat to clear the smoke.