Video shows close call for Colo. man with dementia when candle sparks house fire

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 3:43 AM CDT
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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KMGH) - Candles lit during an 88th birthday party in Colorado ended up sparking a serious house fire. Fortunately, no one among the 20 family members was injured, but video footage shows just how close of a call it was.

Aaron Richardville and his family gathered Saturday for his grandfather’s 88th birthday party. Ten family members, including birthday celebrant Peters Richardville, were inside when a small candle next to a curtain caught fire.

“It was the most frightening thing I have ever been through,” Aaron Richardville said. “The flames just started pouring out of the top, and it went so fast before there was anything we could even do about it.”

Despite the growing flames, Peters Richardville, who has dementia, continued eating lunch.

“It just did not register for him. He did not realize the danger, and that is just the way that dementia works,” Aaron Richardville said.

Thankfully, Aaron Richardville’s aunt, who was leaving, had forgotten her purse and saw the fire when she went to retrieve it. A Nest security camera captured the harrowing moments as she ushered Peters Richardville away from the flames.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get in here if it was 30 seconds later,” Aaron Richardville said.

It took just two minutes for the home to become completely engulfed in flames, and many of the family’s possessions are lost forever.

Aaron Richardville is now warning others, saying if he only taken some time to check crucial safety equipment beforehand, the situation might have turned out differently.

“It was a plug-in smoke detector. Maybe it got unplugged? Had that smoke detector worked that was setting on the table right there, we would have known about it right at that point,” he said. “I have had that fire extinguisher sitting there on the floor in the same space for three years. I had never thought to look at it.”

Still, Aaron Richardville is grateful everyone survived, but now that he has time to reflect, he says he will never again light a candle in his house.

Copyright 2020 KMGH via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.