Sunlight and glassware don’t mix where fire safety is concerned

fires caused by sunlight through glassware

Following two serious fires in Merseyside caused by sunlight reflecting off mirrors during recent dazzling weather, HWFRS is reminding people not to leave mirrors or glassware in positions where they can magnify the sun’s rays onto combustible material.

Both incidents occurred in the middle of the day, between 2pm and 2.30pm, and were started by reflected light from the sun, which directed rays from magnifying mirrors onto combustible items.

Low sun at this time of year and direct sunlight on mirrors can cause serious problems.

Even during cold spells, the sun’s rays can be very strong, particularly when magnified by glass ornaments and mirrors.

HWFRS fire crews deployed to a similar incident in a Clifton Upon Teme house last May (2021) when a mirror is believed to have focused the sun’s rays on to an extension lead, causing a fire. Officers needed breathing apparatus to enter the property and extinguish the fire.

Find out about it on our Facebook site at clifton upon teme house fire

Find out more about the Merseyside incidents on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Facebook site at

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Head of Prevention, said:

“This is a more frequent occurrence than people might expect. I’d encourage residents to take a look around your home and see what might cause a fire like this.

“If you have magnifying mirrors or other items such as glass ornaments or paperweights, please keep them out of direct sunlight or where the sun can reflect from them onto other items.

“Never leave shaving or vanity mirrors on windowsills, and keep aerosols or any other flammable items out of direct sunlight as well.

“Above all, fit working smoke alarms on every floor and test them every week. Don’t ignore a smoke alarm going off, even if it isn’t yours. Whether in your property or a neighbour’s, check it out and call 999 immediately if you suspect a fire.

“Those vital few seconds could help save a life. Don’t try to enter the property yourself if you think there is a fire – Get out, Stay out and Call 999.

“For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, please call us on between 09:00 and 17:00 on 0800 032 1155 to arrange a Home Fire Safety Visit.”

Remember these tips to stay safe from this type of fire:

  • Keep magnifying mirrors out of direct sunlight
  • Never put glass ornaments or paperweights on window sills or in direct sunlight
  • Make sure shaving or vanity mirrors are not left on window sills
  • Be aware of objects in your home that may be exposed to direct sunlight
  • Have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home
  • Consider installing additional alarms in rooms with electrical appliances or sleeping areas
  • Test your smoke alarms once a week
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Go to Home safety | Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service for a wealth of invaluable guidance