Birthday candles burn Essex schoolgirl

AN ESSEX schoolgirl suffered burns when she was set alight by candles on a birthday cake.

AN ESSEX schoolgirl suffered burns when she was set alight by candles on a birthday cake.

The 17-year-old was wearing a snowman's costume which caught light at St Bernard's High School in Southend yesterday.

Five fire crews were called to the Milton Road school at 12.40pm yesterday.

Firefighters ventilated the building.

Martyn Hodder, from Southend fire station, said: “The entire school wore fancy dress. The pupil who was hurt was dressed as a snowman and covered head to foot in cotton wool.

“She was lighting the candles on a cake and it appears that a flame came in contact with the suit. The fire lit and spread very rapidly.

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“Sticky tape covering cotton wool was responsible for the fire, which engulfed the costume, injuring the girl.

“Would like to warn all schools in the county not to use cotton wool as part of any fancy dress or nativity costume and not to decorate schools or homes using cotton wool in any situation if there is any chance that it could come into contact with any source of ignition or a naked flame, such as a candle or lighter.”

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