These images show how easy it can be for a fire to start if you place a mirror or glass too close to a window.

County Durham firefighters were called to a property after receiving a call from a woman who was visiting an elderly residents and discovered one of the rooms upstairs was filling with smoke. The lady instinctively closed the door and rang 999 before helping her relative out the house to safety.

Firefighters from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s (CDDFRS) Darlington Red Watch were on scene within minutes. They discovered that a mirror placed on a set of drawers close to the bedroom window, was reflecting the sun’s rays onto the curtain.

The intensity of the reflection singed through the curtains and started burning the windowsill, causing the room to fill with smoke.

Sarah Litt of the service’s Community Fire Safety Team said: “We would like to commend the lady’s quick-thinking actions and swift 999 call. A mirror or any other glass object, such as an ornament, that is curved, allows the glass to act as a lens.

The mirror also damaged the window frame
The mirror also damaged the window frame

“When the sunlight hits it, it becomes concentrated and, if the rays are bounced onto something flammable - such as curtains or soft furnishings - then a fire can start. It does depend on the angle of the sun, so it’s important that reflective items such as mirrors, crystals and glass ornaments are kept out of direct sunlight.

“Thankfully, these types of incidents are very uncommon, but we hope everyone reading this will think twice about their mirror and glass/crystal ornament placing going forward.”

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