Have you ever thought about the risk of fire starting in your home from just the sun?
Think about what happens to light when you focus it through a magnifying glass in the summer. The energy from focused sun’s rays can be extremely dangerous if focused the wrong way.
These rays focused on nearby objects such as curtains, clothing, paper or furniture can cause a serious fire.
Be aware of where light from windows reaches, be careful of shaving/vanity mirrors, glass ornaments or paperweights that may be exposed to direct light. Do not leave mirrors or glass ornaments on window sills.
There are a number of incidents across the news that show fires caused by direct sunlight refracting through glass. This is a risk all year round, not just in the summer.
One case in Berkshire caused a devastating fire to a £3.5 million home, taking six fire crews to control.
An investigation by officers at the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service has found that sunlight reflecting off a mirror onto curtains in a south facing upstairs bedroom resulted in the fire which caused serious damage to the first and second floor of the property as well as its roof.
‘Cases of reflected light triggering fires in a home are rare, however we urge the public to be aware of the potential danger of reflective surfaces intensifying the sun’s rays. To minimise the risk of a fire, please make sure reflective items such as mirrors are not placed in direct view of sunlight in the home.’
In February this year, a home in London caught fire, causing more than £200,000 worth of damage when the winter sunlight refracted through a glass Nutella jar . The young girl was using the jar to store loom bands on her bedroom window sill. The family urge everyone to take five minutes to ensure their window sills are clear of any glass or crystal that might lead to a potentially life changing blaze.
In the last 5 years there have been 125 fires reported to have been caused by the sun’s rays.
‘Crystal and glass ornaments and items such as mirror tables should be kept out of direct sunlight. This shows these fires are not an urban myth. Also make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.’
Even bottles of water or fish tanks could cause sun rays to be focused on nearby materials, so have a look around your home this evening to ensure you aren’t at risk!