Light reflecting off a bedroom mirror ended up setting alight a house in Orpington. The fire ended up damaging part of the first floor of the home.
Four fire engines and 21 firefighters were needed to control the blaze. Luckily, no one was home at the time and nobody was injured.
This has resulted in London Fire Brigade issuing a warning to the public.
A spokesperson said: “These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think and shows these types of fires are not an urban myth.
“Crystals, glass ornaments and items such as dressing table mirrors should be kept out of direct sunlight.”
People often never expect to be the victim of a fire. So suffering at the result of sunlight entering your home is likely to be something which has never crossed your mind.
In the past five years, London Fire Brigade have attended over 100 fires caused by the sun’s rays. And they can happen during the summer or winter.
Even sparkly door knobs, jam jars, and fish tanks are all known to have started house fires.
It happens when the light is either reflected or refracted onto a combustible material, such as curtains, bedding, carpets, and other soft furnishings. These fires start as a result of the beams of sunlight being concentrated into one area and causing an intense build-up of heat.
As a result of this fire, LFB has issued its top three tips for preventing and handling fires of this type. These are to:
- Keep mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from the sunny sills.
- Fit at least one smoke alarm per floor and test them every week to make sure they work and the batteries are not flat.
- If you have a fire, close the door on the blaze, get out, stay out, and call the Brigade.
It can be hard to prevent a fire of this type because the sun changes position not only throughout the day but through the year as well. But you may be able to spot potential hazards just by looking at the areas surrounding all your windows.
When it comes to fitting smoke alarms, optical sensors are faster and more accurate when detecting fires from soft furnishings which smoulder. Plus cooking fumes are less likely to affect them so will prevent false alarms too.
Never try to fight a fire you don’t feel confident enough to tackle. But it’s a good idea to have a small water or powder fire extinguisher in the home so you can prevent a small fire from escalating quickly.