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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Sunlight reflecting off mirror causes accidental house fire

20/06/2017

Gnosall mirror fire
Gnosall mirror fire

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has issued a safety warning after sunlight reflected off a mirror and caused a nearby plant and window surround to smoulder.

“It is vital that people ensure that reflective items such as mirrors are not placed in direct view of sunlight. Special care should be taken with curved shaving or make-up mirrors which can magnify the sun’s rays onto combustible items such as blinds, curtains or bedding, causing them to ignite."

Carmel Warren, Prevent Manager for the west of the county

The incident happened in the kitchen of a home in Audmore Road, Gnosall, and crews from Stafford attended the scene just after 8.15pm on Saturday June 17, 2017. The homeowner was away but luckily her daughter was checking her home and alerted SFRS when she could smell smoke.

Burnt plant

Carmel Warren, Prevent Manager for the west of the county, said: “Sunlight can be extremely powerful and if it is reflected off the surface of a mirror it can produce enough heat to ignite flammable materials. The occupant of this home was very lucky that the consequences were minimal and the incident only burnt the plant and window sill.

“It is vital that people ensure that reflective items such as mirrors are not placed in direct view of sunlight. Special care should be taken with curved shaving or make-up mirrors which can magnify the sun’s rays onto combustible items such as blinds, curtains or bedding, causing them to ignite.

“It is also important to ensure that you have working smoking alarms fitted so that, should an emergency occur, someone is alerted to it at the earliest possible opportunity.

“If you’re going away it is always a good idea to ask a relative, friend or neighbour to make regular checks on your home.”

The incident has been classed as accidental ignition. The crew installed new smoke alarms and will be carrying out a Safe and Well visit with the occupant when they return home.