London

Burn girl helps Christmas candle fire safety campaign

Dorah Mokoena, 16 (left) with her brother Sizwe Hlope, 10
Image caption Dorah has been flown to London by the charity Children of Fire

A teenager from South Africa who survived severe burns is helping the London Fire Brigade raise awareness of the dangers of lighting candles at Christmas time.

At the age of six months Dorah Mokoena lost her nose, eyelids, and a bone in her forehead in a fire started by a candle in a squatter camp.

She was flown to the UK in 1998 to have reconstructive surgery.

Now 16, she is in London to help the brigade's Christmas safety campaign.

With 1,300 home fires a year caused by candles in the UK, the "so beautiful, so lethal" campaign is aimed at highlighting the dangers of lighting candles at home.

After cigarette lighters, they are the second highest cause of fire injuries in the UK, London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said.

'Extremely courageous'

He added: "Dorah is an extremely courageous young woman and it is an absolute tragedy that she was so seriously injured by fire.

"I am so pleased she is helping us to highlight the fire dangers posed by candles."

The brigade has recommended that people place any candles in a fire resistant holder.

Candles should never be left unattended, even for a moment, or left too close to items like Christmas trees, curtains or clothing.

Dorah has been flown to London by the charity Children of Fire, which also arranged for her treatment in the UK in 1998.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites