Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is asking people to be very cautious about placing glass and reflective items on window sills after sunlight reflecting off mirrors caused two serious fires in six days.
Thankfully no one was injured but both fires caused extensive damage to the properties involved, with one of the homes left uninhabitable.
Investigations into the fires found they were both caused by the sun’s rays being magnified off a mirror onto combustible materials.
Both fires occurred at similar times of day, between 2pm and 2.30pm.
Prevention Group Manager Mark Thomas said: “Fires caused in this way are becoming more and more apparent. Thankfully no one has been seriously injured as a result of these fires, but the damage caused will have a lasting impact on those involved.
“Both of these fires were started by the reflected light from the sun, which directed rays from magnifying mirrors onto combustible items. Low sun at this time of year and direct sunlight on mirrors can cause serious problems. Even during cold spells, the sun’s rays can be very strong particularly if they are magnified by glass ornaments and mirrors.
“Take a look around your home - if you have magnifying mirrors or other items such as glass ornaments or paperweights, please make sure they are kept out of direct sunlight or where the sun can reflect from them onto other items. Never leave shaving or vanity mirrors on windowsills – this is a recipe for disaster. It’s also really important to keep aerosols or any other flammable items out of direct sunlight too.”
GM Thomas added: “The most important thing you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe from fire in the home is to make sure you have working smoke alarms and we would urge residents across Merseyside to take time out of their day to check theirs are working.
“If you hear a smoke alarm sounding, don’t ignore it – even if it isn’t yours. If you hear a smoke alarm go off in a neighbour’s property, check it out and call 999 immediately if you suspect a fire. Those vital few seconds could help save a life. Don’t try to enter the property yourself if you think there is a fire – get out, stay out and call 999.”
Follow these tips to stay safe from fire:
- Keep magnifying mirrors out of direct sunlight
- Never put glass ornaments or paperweights on window sills or in direct sunlight
- Make sure shaving or vanity mirrors are not left on window sills
- Be aware of objects in your home that may be exposed to direct sunlight
- You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home
- Consider installing additional alarms in rooms with electrical appliances or sleeping areas
- Test your smoke alarms once a week
- In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, please call 0800 731 5958.