You'll never believe what started this house fire

Householders warned over dangers of mirrors

The house in Faversham, Kent which went up in flames after sunlight reflecting from a mirror (PICTURED) onto blinds sparked a blaze. See National copy NNMIRROR: A bedroom went up in flames after sunlight reflecting from a mirror onto blinds sparked a blaze. Liz Swan was in her garden when her teenage son and his girlfriend alerted her to the fire. Luckily, the family, from Faversham, Kent, had working smoke alarms in the house and were able to escape unscathed. Liz, 54, said: "I rushed into the house to hear all the smoke alarms sounding, made sure the bedroom doors were closed and we immediately got out of the house to wait outside with our pet dog.

A Kent family has had a lucky escape, after sunlight reflecting off a mirror started a blaze.

Liz Swan was in the garden of her Faversham home yesterday morning when her teenage son and his girlfriend spotted the fire in her daughter's bedroom.

"I rushed into the house to hear all the smoke alarms sounding, made sure the bedroom doors were closed and we immediately got out of the house to wait outside with our pet dog," she says.

"I rang 999 at around 9.30am and the firefighters were absolutely brilliant, they were on the scene within a couple of minutes and we were so grateful for their assistance and support."

How did a crystal doorknob cost thousands of pounds of damage?

It's believed that the fire started when low winter sunlight reflected off a vanity mirror onto the window blinds. Within minutes, says Faversham crew manager Dan Wooller, it had spread to bedding and curtains.

"Ms Swan and her family were very unlucky to have a fire of this nature but fortunately the outcome was a lot less serious than it could have been," he says.

And he praised Ms Swan for having working smoke alarms.

Bizarre causes of fires revealed

In fact, it's unfortunately not at all uncommon for fires to start in this way - and sometimes the effects are far more severe.

Two years ago, for example, flames ripped through a £3.5 million house in Caversham, Berkshire, after a similar makeup mirror reflected sunlight onto curtains. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but the damage caused an estimated £1 million to put right.

Make-up mirror caused fire at £3.5 million house

A year earlier, a blaze at a £1.5 million property in Clapham was traced to an even unlikelier culprit: a clear crystal doorknob that focused sunlight onto a dressing gown hanging on the door.

Indeed, more or less anything shiny can have the potential to cause a blaze if it's left in direct sunlight. In the past, fires have been caused by glass bottles, a goldfish bowl and even a crystal ball - although you might have thought that the owner would have seen that one coming...


Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims

Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims