Safety warning after sun's rays cause house fire

PUBLISHED: 11:44 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 11 May 2010

SUNSHINE reflecting off a mirror is thought to have caused a house fire in Barkway. With the heat wave set to continue for the next few days, Hertfordshire Fire Service have issued a safety warning following the latest fire, which occurred at The Penns, B

SUNSHINE reflecting off a mirror is thought to have caused a house fire in Barkway. With the heat wave set to continue for the next few days, Hertfordshire Fire Service have issued a safety warning following the latest fire, which occurred at The Penns, Barkway last Wednesday.

Crews were called at 8.58am when neighbours spotted flames and smoke coming from the window of the house. Fortunately the occupants, Kathy Clay and her children, were out at the time.

Kathy Clay said: "I'm shocked by what has happened. I'm so careful and I've had a home fire safety check by the Fire Service who fitted smoke alarms in my house.

"I'm just glad we weren't at home at the time - but the smoke alarms were going off the whole time so we would have been alerted straight away if we had been there. I'm just thankful that things weren't even worse," she said.

Dave Harold, the fire service's Stevenage and North Herts Group Commander, said: "This was an unusual incident. The fire appeared to have started when the sun shone through the bedroom and the light reflected off of a mirror onto the curtains in the room and the intensity of the heat started the fire.

"The smoke alarms, previously fitted by the Fire Service activated early on, and fortunately one of the neighbours spotted the fire and dialled 999. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people of the importance of having a working smoke alarm and an escape plan. If fire does break out, get out quickly and call the Fire Service."

The fire and Rescue Service offers home fire safety checks, during which fire fighters provide fire safety advice tailored to the property, as well as fitting free smoke alarms where needed. For more information, or to arrange an appointment, call 0800 5873347.

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