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Shirt ignited by candle in freak accident

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ICL's summer drinks party for journos nearly came to an an abrupt - and unplanned - end yesterday when a leading IT journalist's shirt was ignited by a candle.

Pete Branton, news editor of VNU's Computer Reseller News, is reported to have suffered second-degree burns in the incident.

It's unclear exactly how Branton's shirt came into contact with the naked flame. The room - in London's Century Club - was filled with decorative candles, although they were safely housed in glass containers.

Once the fire had started, it spread in a few seconds to engulf the whole back of the shirt. Several partygoers attempted to douse the flames with beer, but it was only the quick actions of one of Branton's friends, who physically ripped the shirt off, that saved him from more serious injury.

Branton was taken to hospital in an ambulance and is not in work today. We wish him a speedy recovery. ®

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