KBTX anchor burned by exploding wax fire shares safety tips, reminders

KBTX News Anchor Kathleen Witte is speaking publicly for the first time since she received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her body.

Witte was home on the evening of October 15th when candle wax in a jar began burning in her kitchen. She went to douse the fire with water, and that's when the jar exploded.

"At the time, I didn’t know that wax on fire is like grease on fire: it must be put out by suffocation, not water. Ignorant to this fact, and not thinking the situation through, I swiftly and rather confidently tossed a glass-full of water on the burning candle jar," said Witte.

Lesson #1: Never throw water on a wax fire.

Click here to read Kathleen Witte's full Facebook post.

Fire experts say if you do have a wax fire in your home, a dry chemical extinguisher or baking soda should be used to suffocate the flames.

"The fire and flaming wax exploded onto me. It was, quite easily, the most terrifying moment of my life," said Witte.

She was rushed to CHI St. Joseph Hospital and then taken by a medical helicopter to a burn unit in Houston. Most of her facial scars have healed, and makeup gives the illusion that nothing ever happened.

However, deeper scars on her hands, legs, torso and hip will take much longer to heal.

Click here for a full list of safety tips from the National Candle Association.

"My skin will be raw, pink, and extremely sensitive to sun for up to year. Look forward to me bringing hats and thick sunscreen back in style," she said.

She's very thankful for the flood of calls, emails, texts, dinners, flowers and other gifts she's received from family, friends and viewers.

"I've received messages from strangers who say 'hey, I'm praying for you.' It's just one more person out there who is rooting for you. That means a lot."

Lesson #2: Stop, Drop, and Roll if you're ever on fire.

Witte credits the 'Stop, Drop, and Roll' method with stopping the fire from spreading to her entire body, and possibly saving her life.

Click here to view a video on how to Stop, Drop, and Roll from the Burn Prevention Network.

Lesson #3: Have a fire extinguisher in your home.

A fire extinguisher was also used to help stop the fire from spreading to other parts of her home.

Witte says her father gave her the fire extinguisher as a gift, and without it, she's confident the wax fire would have resulted in a complete loss of her belongings.