Celebrities can often serve as useful cautionary tales: Don't smoke and drink or you'll sound (and look) like Lindsay Lohan. Don't use coke or you'll start ranting about tiger blood like Charlie Sheen. Don't have an imaginary girlfriend or everyone will make fun of you like Manti Te'o. Don't add ambience to your house with soothing candlelight or you'll burn the shit out of your house like Sharon Osbourne.

Yes, apparently we all need to add pillars, votives, and birthday cake toppers to the list of dangerous substances that should handled with care -- because Sharon Osbourne's wax-triggered house fire is just the latest in a strange string of dramatic celebrity mishaps involving candles.

Sharon Osbourne's candle incident happened a couple days ago when she fell asleep with one burning in her living room. Early the next morning,

(...) my eyes are stinging and my throat's closing up something weird smelling in here, then my dogs started to bark, so I go out of the bedroom, I go downstairs and the whole living room—the candle had burst and the cracking sound was the glass in the candle exploding.

Luckily, Beverly Hills firemen were able to extinguish the blaze, but Osbourne shares a word of advice for avoiding a similar scare:

Please everybody always check all the candles lit in the house before going to bed.

Actress Heather Graham had a similar accident recently when she left a candle burning on the edge of her bathtub. The flames managed to ignite some nearby clothes, and the NY Fire Department spent 45 minutes battling the subsequent fire in her Manhattan penthouse.

And if you're not yet fully convinced of the danger of candles, note that famed DJ Skrillex (real name: Sonny Moore) managed to set his HAIR ON FIRE while blowing out the flames on his birthday cake. Just look at this dramatic video:


Okay, I'm not sure we can blame the candles for that last one (open flames + long hair = DUH), but clearly there's a lesson to be learned about leaving things burning in your house. As in, don't do it. Because while a surprise visit from some hunky firemen might sound good, burning down your house in the process really isn't worth it.

According to FEMA, 42 home candle fires are reported every day, and young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires. Safety tips include:

• Consider switching to the battery-powered flameless variety (I have one of these and they're awesome! They're made of wax and they even flicker like real candles)

• Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas

• Make sure your candles are are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they can't be easily knocked down -- and keep them at least 12 inches from anything that can burn

• NEVER leave burning candles unattended (ie, blow those suckers out before you leave the house or head off to bed)

Have you ever accidentally started a fire from a candle?

Image via Mike Paradise/Flickr