A homeowner has urged people to be wary of bedroom mirrors after hers started a fire
Shocked practice nurse Gilly Harrop, 57, was about to head off to work last Friday morning from her home in St Annes, near Blackpool, in Lancashire, when she smelled smoke.
But when she ran into her bedroom she found her curtains on fire and the room covered in thick “acrid white smoke”.
Luckily for Ms Harrop, two teams of local firefighters raced to the scene and quickly put out the flames.
But now she and the fire service are urging people to be aware that strong spring and summer sun shining into rooms can be focused by mirrors into a deadly ray of heat.
The mum admitted: “I do feel very lucky. It was unbelievable but it could have been disastrous.
“It was a gorgeous day and I have big windows in that room, and the sun was right on that side.
“All the conditions were there for this to happen.
This happens rarely but we have had instances across the county
John Taylor, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
“I was dressed and ready to leave my first floor flat when I decided to first take some washing off the radiator in my spare room.
“But it was thick with acrid white smoke.
“Initially I thought it was something in the downstairs flat and then I wondered if it was an electrical fire.”
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But she explained that after pulling the bed away from a plug socket in the wall, Ms Harrop spotted her white floral curtains were alight and dialled 999.
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Two teams of firefighters from St Annes put out the flames, leaving Ms Harrop feeling fortunate – and her friends and family scrambling to make sure they had no mirrors in a similar position.
Ms Harrop added: “Fortunately, all the stars were aligned for me to find it quickly and get it dealt with.
“I don’t normally go into that room. It was just an after-thought.”
Gilly Harrop originally assumed an electrical fire was responsible when she smelt smoke
Last year, fire crews were called out to a nearby large detached home in Blackpool after sunlight shining through a glass ashtray left on a balcony set fire to the kitchen roof.
Nobody was injured but the house suffered damage.
John Taylor, spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS), also warned residents to be careful where they place their mirrors.
Firefighters were able to overcome the blaze
He said: “This happens rarely but we have had instances across the county, and this should alert us to the fact we need to be vigilant.
“People should avoid putting glass objects, such as bottles and ornamental vases, on window sills.
“It’s something to bear in mind, but first and foremost, get a smoke alarm.
“It won’t prevent a fire but it would give you an early warning.”