Officials say use a flashlight, not candles when power goes out

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By Jill Glavan

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (August 20, 2014) -- As storms lit up the sky across central Indiana this week, there was an important lesson to be learned in keeping your family safe during a power outage.

The tip seems easy - and you've heard it before - but Noblesville Fire Prevention Officer Todd Estes sees that no matter how many reminders are given, it's not enough.

"We may see it, you know, half a dozen times a year," Estes said.

He's talking about a fire like the one that happened on 14th Street in Noblesville early Wednesday. Just 12 hours later, windows were boarded and pieces of siding on the ground outside the home.

"My husband and I were sleeping. It was just this rapid pounding," neighbor Leah Leach said.

Leach's neighbor was pounding on the door, looking for help as his home went up in smoke. He later told firefighters that he lit candles for light and fell asleep.

"We're not immune to storms in Indiana. If the lights go out ... just avoid candles, use a flashlight," Estes said.

Leach does just that, since she has two young kids in the house.

"We have flashlights in all the major rooms and they’re LED flashlights, so they don’t use that much battery (power)," Leach said.

In this case, it was simply an accident. Luckily, smoke alarms woke the man up.

Indianapolis Power and Light has tips on its website for what to do when the power goes out. They include preparing for an outage ahead of time, staying away from damage to trees or power lines, checking to be sure electric stoves are off and consulting an electrician before using a portable generator.