This is a cautionary tale that begins with a candle-lit bath for two.
As a former company executive, Andrew Mason realises that a serious message is best delivered with a revealing story that piques interest.
"When we have a bath we put the candle on," he begins, "it's a bit romantic, rather nice thing."
Mason and his partner Suzanne had a large three-wick jar candle in their bathroom at the ready for such occasions.
"It looked very pretty," Mason says.
But it was made of paraffin wax, the most common type of wax used in candles, which has to be heated to a quite high temperature before it melts, he says.
Some friends were visiting, Mason continues, having a relaxing break from their farm.
"So we said 'go have a bath together, put on a candle, enjoy yourselves'," he says.
Later, when they were all eating dinner, there was a "huge bang from somewhere in the house". So loud that the visiting farmer mistook it for a shotgun, Mason says.
They "rushed about" finally arriving in the bathroom where they found a blackened mark on the wooden shelf where the candle had been.
"It had a flame flickering in the middle of it," Mason says. "The candle had literally totally disappeared, but shards of glass were stuck into the towels on the other side of the room like a hedgehog.
"It was lucky no one was injured."
They still occasionally find a sliver of glass in the bathroom "which is a reminder to us of what could have happened".
"If we hadn't been in the house, the chances are that flame would have taken hold and we'd have lost our home," Mason says.
The couple gathered up all the candles they had and threw them out. And, since that scare, Mason says they have been dedicated to researching, making and promoting candles that are safer.
They use 100 percent soy wax, which has a lower melt point, and are committed to non-toxic, additive-free fragrances to complete their safety-first ethos.
"Most people are blissfully ignorant until it happens to them," Mason says. "And it does happen quite regularly."
Earlier this year a Sydney woman was relaxing in her bathtub with a candle burning when the glass container shattered and fire broke out.
Separately, in July the ACCC's Product Safety Australia ordered a recall on a candle range at Peter Alexander after defects were identified that could cause the wax to ignite or the glass container to fracture.
Mason says some candle manufacturers advise consumers not to burn a candle for anything more than two hours.
But, he reflects, that "it's very hard to set the timer" when relaxation and mood-setting are the name of the game, "... a very short romantic evening perhaps!"
Candles that will not over-heat are the answer, he says.
"We have got to start getting these warnings out," Mason says. "One of the things that we would like to see is mandatory labelling on candles."
The couple started Uaine Candles as a cellar-door operation capturing the tourist trade in Morpeth, with the name (pronounced 'oonyah' in Gaelic) meaning green and verdant, inspired by the fields they look at from their candle-making studio.
Soon retailers further afield started asking to stock the candles, with a Bondi shop added to the list of stockists just recently.
"They're recognising the same thing that we're recognising," Mason says. "It's about what's meant to happen, you put a nice candle on and you feel good."
Candles are hand-poured a few times a week to keep up with demand, with eight family members involved.
Suzanne creates the scents - like a new pomegranate and crimson rhubarb fragrance, another based on the olfactory experience of a Hunter shiraz, and one that releases a Christmas cake aroma.
Mason's favourite is based on the rose that's at his garden gate.
While the biggest seller was developed when a grandchild was on the way. It is a blend of lavender, bitter orange, bergamot and neroli, "which signifies unconditional love".
"Every one of our fragrances has a story," he says. "It's taking things that people recognise and giving it that small twist."
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