Mirror fire sparks safety warning

A fire sparked by sunlight beaming onto a mirror in Witchford has prompted the Fire Service to remind homeowners about potential fire hazards cause by everyday household items.

The owners of the Main Street property returned to their smoke-filled home yesterday to find the smoke alarms sounding.

A vanity mirror left on a dressing room windowsill had set fire to two wooden jewellery boxes before spreading to the sill and smashing the glass.

A fire engine from Ely was called to the house just after 4pm.
A thermal imaging camera was used to ensure there was no more burning behind the windowsill.
Firefighters then used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from the property, returning to their station by 5.22pm.
Station Commander Dave Allen said: “There was a very strong sun all day and it was magnifying against the wooden jewellery boxes, setting them and the window sill on fire.
“It caused significant damage to the window frame and window sill and smoke damage throughout the property.
“They were fortunate they didn’t have any curtains on the window sill because they would have been the first thing to ignite and the outcome could have been a lot worse.”
The Witchford fire was the first of two Cambridgeshire blazes caused by household items yesterday.
In the second incident, a six-year-old boy was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation following a house fire in Sandwich Close in the Kings Hedges area of Cambridge – apparently caused by an exploding lithium battery.

The fire had already been extinguished by the time the two fire crews from Cambridge arrived on the scene.
They used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the smoke.
Watch Commander Clive Allen said the owner had been re-energising a genuine make battery bought from eBay as flat and said it was a common battery, used for a household drill.
“The battery started to fizz so they took it off the charger but it continued to fizz before exploding.
There was enough force to penetrate the ceiling plasterboard and hot fragments were thrown across the room, burning the carpet, curtains and furnishings.
This then filled the flat with acrid smoke causing this six-year-old son to suffer smoke inhalation.”
Firefighters returned to their stations by 12.32am.
Head of Community Fire Safety for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Kevin Napier said: “Both these incidents highlight the fact that regular, everyday household items and appliances have the potential to cause fires in people’s homes causing damage to both the home and the individuals safety and wellbeing.
“We encourage people to be aware of objects in the home such as shaving or vanity mirrors and glass ornaments and never place them on window sills or in direct sunlight.
“Lithium batteries can be very dangerous and so the manufacturers guidance should be followed at all times when using them.
“It is also important to protect your homes from faulty appliances by ensuring you register items such as washing machines and tumble driers when you purchase them to ensure both their guarantee is upheld but also that you have direct contact from the manufacturer should the item be recalled.”

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