An unattended candle is suspected in an early morning fire that forced residents from their Lower Riviera home Saturday. One resident was injured while fighting the flames in his room.

The fire broke out just after midnight Saturday in a third-floor bedroom of the house at 1704 Grand Ave. near East Valerio Street, Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said in a statement. Smoke detectors alerted several of the sleeping residents and firefighters safely removed another resident who was asleep downstairs.

Fire Capt. Jim McCoy said Engines One and Seven, Truck One and a battalion chief quickly responded to the 9-1-1 call and discovered smoke and flames coming from the rear of the structure. According to investigators, the resident of the third-floor bedroom had left a candle burning and returned to find the room on fire. He suffered burns on his hands and smoke inhalation while using fire extinguishers in an unsuccessful attempt to douse the flames. The man, whose identity was not released, was treated by firefighters and transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by ambulance. His condition was not immediately known.

McCoy said fire crews were on the scene for several hours, extinguishing the fire and removing a large accumulation of possessions and combustible materials. A damage estimate was not available.

Pitney said the blaze is a reminder that working smoke detectors save lives by giving people the early warning necessary to evacuate and escape serious injury. He added that fire extinguishers can be used effectively to extinguish small fires but homeowners should use extreme caution when attempting to extinguish a well-established fire.

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