Cheap candles sold at Kmart in New Zealand and Australia are prone to overheating and exploding, spraying hot wax and glass shards across rooms and causing injuries, angry customers say.
Chris Page was left with serious burns to his hands when he tried to stop a $6 Vanilla and Fig candle from setting his Gold Coast house on fire after it exploded in a bedroom.
The 44-year-old told Daily Mail Australia he was standing in the doorway when it exploded and he ran into the room where remnants of the candle and its glass container were strewn across the room burning the carpet.
He said there was and a huge, uncontrollable flame that almost touched the ceiling coming from what was left of the candle.
"While trying to avoid burning the house down I tried to blow the candle out but to no avail and had no option but to pick it and run to remove it from danger," he said.
However, he dropped the candle as it burned his hands, leaving wax and glass all over a hallway his daughter had to scrub from the tiles and walls while his wife rushed him to hospital.
Mr Page spent the night in Robina Hospital with second-degree burns and was off work for a week without pay while he endured painful visits to the doctor for dressing changes, and will have permanent scars on both hands.
Mr Page submitted a claim to Kmart owner Wesfarmers for hundreds of dollars in medical bills, lost wages and about $1,000 to replace the carpet.
But his claim was denied because the company said he had not followed the warning label that said not to burn the candle past one centimetre in height and not to handle it while it was burning.
"Whilst we are sorry to hear that you were injured and that your property was damaged, we do not consider Kmart can be held liable and we are unable to compensate you," it said.
Mr Page disputed this, arguing the candle had far more than one centimetre to burn and that he only handled it in desperation once it had already exploded.
"I have children and pets and live in a rental property that could well have caught fire if I had not taken action," he said.
His wife Cindy said Mr Page was in so much pain when he arrived in emergency the doctors were initially not even able to examine him.
"He was in bandages and couldn't move his hands properly for weeks and watching his skin shed off as they were healing was horrible," she said.
"The product is clearly defective as so many of them have exploded and I don't want this to happen to another family. I can't believe they are still on shelves."
DMA has been made aware of more than a dozen other customers who claim their candles exploded and damaged their property.
Mel Gordon said her brand new candle exploded after burning for about an hour and sprayed hot wax across her room, including damaging her $350 bassinet.
The Canberra woman said Kmart asked her to return the candle but she never pressed the issue because she gave birth about a week after the incident.
"Why is Kmart selling candles with such fragile glass that they explode? My house could have burned down so I'm concerned worse could happen to someone else," she told DMA.
Melissa Trim, from Mount Isa, also said her daughter's candle exploded in a complaint to Kmart's Facebook page, while Nicky Brandes said glass flew two metres when hers exploded.
Numerous others have complained on social media, or commented on other posts sharing their own experiences.
Kmart Australia said it was committed to the quality and safety of all its products.
"We test our candles, list safety instructions and when adhered to the product is safe to use," it told DMA.
"We encourage all those who own a candle to review these instructions as a safety precaution."