Allegedly Defective Candle Starts Dangerous House Fire


Product Liability ExpertThis case involves a product liability claim involving a man who was severely burned by a single-wick candle in his home. Within 30-40 minutes, flames spread to the whole pool of oil and turned the candle into a tower of 10-inch flames. The candle burned the table it was on and a portion of the floor nearby. It was alleged that the mixture of wax and oils of this candle was improperly formulated and improperly mixed during manufacturing. An expert in candle manufacturing was sought to explain how wax and oils are mixed together in the candle making process and what possible flaws in the process can lead to accidents like this.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your background in manufacturing candles.
  • 2. What equipment, if any, can lead to the improper mixture of candles and cause accidents like this?

Expert Witness Response E-238360

I have spent several years as an engineer at candle manufacturing plants. This included learning the systems and policies surrounding production as well as the engineering and planning stages of the process. Some possible issues could have come with the new industry switch to automation, personal turn over rate, the mix tank bottom shape, the mixing blade style, and the startup and shutdown of the systems during cold weather, to name a few. I have experience with similar situations where I would review the mixing of volatile chemicals and phase changing mixtures.

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