Devon fire service warns of magnifying mirror danger

Advice from Devon Fire Service:

Every year at this time when the autumn sun is low in the sky Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service attends a number of fires caused by the sun’s rays focusing through or onto glass and then setting fire to nearby objects.

Any mirrored or glass items close to a window may re-focus the sun’s rays onto nearby objects such as curtains, clothing, paper or furniture heating them up to a point that they catch fire.

In fact, anything that can concentrate the sun’s rays like fish bowls or glasses of water should be kept away from windows to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.

Safety advice

·         Keep magnifying mirrors out of direct sunlight

·         Never put glass ornaments or paperweights on window sills

·         Never place glass ornaments or paperweights in direct sunlight

·         Make sure shaving or vanity mirrors are not left on window sills

·         Be aware of objects in your home such as shaving or vanity mirrors and glass ornaments or paperweights that may be exposed to direct sunlight


Paul Bray, Community Safety Protection manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: ‘Many people do not realise the dangers of leaving glass objects too close to windows. Anything that can concentrate the sun’s ray should be moved away from the window to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out, especially where the sun can shine directly into the room.”

Paul went on to say: ‘I have personally attended two fires caused by make-up mirrors, positioned on dressers, in bedrooms. One of these fires occurred in the early morning, with the sun shining through a south-easterly facing window, and the other occurred in the early evening, with the sun shining through a south westerly facing window. Both days were bright and sunny, but not hot.

“If any of your rooms are penetrated by bright sunlight, especially at this time of year, carry out a check to make sure any glass objects cannot re-focus the sunlight to create a fire.

“Now would also be a good time to discuss your fire procedures with the rest of your family, fit or check your smoke alarm is working, and put into practice a simple routine of shutting internal doors, not only as part of a bedtime routine – but also whenever you leave your home unattended, as even a light internal door will prevent or reduce smoke and heat damage to a room’s contents.”

Make the call to request free Home Safety advice call free: 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline: 01392 872288 or visit our website

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