Sunday 18 February 2018

Dog dies in house fire sparked by sun

London Fire Brigade image of the aftermath of a house fire in Twickenham, south-west London sparked by sun rays shining on a glass jar placed on a window sill. Photo: London Fire Brigade/PA Wire
London Fire Brigade image of the aftermath of a house fire in Twickenham, south-west London sparked by sun rays shining on a glass jar placed on a window sill. Photo: London Fire Brigade/PA Wire

By Hayden Smith

A dog died and a house was badly damaged in a fire sparked by sun rays shining on a glass jar.

The blaze started when low winter sunlight was refracted by a Nutella container used to collect loom bands on a window sill, investigators believe.

It is thought the rays were magnified and beamed onto nearby blinds, causing them to catch fire.

The family who lived at the address in Twickenham, south-west London, were not home at the time but their pet - a Jack Russell - was trapped inside and died.

Their first floor bedroom was destroyed and the roof was damaged in the fire on February 15.

Charlie Pugsley, of London Fire Brigade (LFB), said: "It sounds far fetched that a jar containing a few rubber bands caused a severe house fire but that's exactly what happened.

"It's worth spending five minutes checking that your window ledges are clear of any glass or crystal that might lead to a potentially life changing blaze."

Last week lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone told how a fire broke out at her home in similar circumstances.

She wrote on Twitter: "OMG sun coming through the window, bean bag next to mirror table...bean bag has just gone on fire. Incredible how a house fire can start."

Ms Mone put the fire out herself and firefighters did not attend.

LFB said sun rays have caused 125 fires in the last five years and warned they are a risk in the winter as well as the summer.

Mr Pugsley said the figures show that these sorts of incidents are "not an urban myth".

Press Association

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