THE National Fire Authority is urging homeowners to be vigilant with the use of candles.
The call follows a recent house fire which claimed a 53-year-old man's life at Navuevu Village in Cuvu, Nadroga last Saturday night.
According to the authority, the fire started in the kitchen of the five-bedroom dwelling by a candle left unattended. Despite efforts by villagers and resort workers to douse the blaze, the victim was unable to escape as the fire rapidly spread and completely engulfed the home.
Police confirmed the man was rushed to Sigatoka Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
NFA chief executive officer John O'Connor is again pleading with members of the public to take extra care when using candles.
"NFA investigations reveal that so far this year, five home fires were caused by lit candles which were placed in unsafe areas and that these fires could have been easily avoided if the members of the community took extra care and ensured that candles were placed away from curtain or in a safe area," he said.
"On Saturday night at Navuevu Village, a house fire claimed the life of the 53-year-old."
Mr O'Connor said the fire was caused by a lit candle. The candle was placed on a table in the kitchen and was believed to have been fanned by strong winds.
"This incident brings to 54 the total number of structural fires this year. It is important to keep fire safety in mind whenever you use candles at home", Mr O'Connor said in a statement.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the estimated damage to the house was $40,000.