Posted: Mon 10th Mar 2014

Fire Service warning after a fire caused by sunlight left 2 people needing hospital treatment.

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 10th, 2014

Two occupants of a house in Hawarden were taking to hospital last Friday following a fire thought to have been caused by direct sunlight on a mirror.

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Firefighters from Deeside were called to the property after smoke alarms alerted them to a fire in the bedroom.

One of the occupants attempted to tackle the fire but was overcome by smoke, a male and a female were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is thought to be sunlight on a mirror.

Justin Evans from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“This incident clearly shows that fires can occur very easily and highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms fitted in your home to give you an early warning of fire, allowing you and your family to escape safely.

“An Intense concentrated sun reflection from a small round convex mirror caused severe localised heat build up on a curtain causing it to ignite. This in turn caused fire spread and alerted the two occupants when the fire alarm began sounding.

“The sun’s rays can be magnified by a lens or magnifying mirror and become focused on a nearby object such as curtains, clothing or even wooden or plastic furniture, fixtures or fittings. This can cause scorching, or charring potentially leading to smouldering or flaming ignition of the object.

“In the evening, morning and during the winter, when the sun is lower on the horizon, the shallower angle at which the sun’s rays hit the earth means that it is particularly important to be aware of objects, such as magnifying vanity mirrors and glass ornaments, which may be left exposed to direct sunlight. Most commonly this is because they are placed on top of shelves or drawers which are next to a window.

“While this type of fire may seem like one of the more unusual cases, in principle it is the same as focussing the sun’s rays with a magnifying glass and, as this case clearly demonstrates, sunlight being focussed by everyday objects can indeed set light to things in the home.

“The gentleman involved in this incident tried to tackle the fire himself, but received smoke inhalation while doing so. Our appeal to residents is to leave the firefighting to us – our advice is to get out, stay out and call us out.”

 

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