A London home has been badly damaged and a family pet dog killed in a serious fire in Fielding Avenue in Twickenham caused by light refraction.
Investigators believe that the blaze started when low winter sunlight was refracted by a Nutella jar used to collect loom bands on a window sill on February 15th.
The rays were magnified and beamed onto blinds, causing them to catch fire.
The family weren’t home when the fire started, but their dog Chili was trapped inside and died.
The fire destroyed a first floor bedroom and also damaged the roof.
Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers from Twickenham and Feltham fire stations attended the incident.
Last week lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone tweeted how a fire broke out at her Mayfair home in similar circumstances.
Ms Mone put the fire out herself.
After these two incidents, the London Fire Brigade has issued a warning about the dangers of fires caused by direct sunlight.
Firefighters say there have been 125 fires caused by the sun’s rays in the last five years and that these incidents don’t only happen in the summer.
Charlie Pugsley from the Brigade’s fire investigation unit said:
These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think. I’ve seen everything from sparkly door knobs to crystal balls starting fires.
Crystal and glass ornaments and items such as mirror tables should be kept out of direct sunlight. We wouldn’t advise that people put fires out themselves but it is good to see that Ms Mone is not injured.
This shows these fires are not an urban myth. Also make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Last July LFB crews dealt with a house fire in Clapham that was caused by the sun’s rays refracting through a crystal door knob.
Earlier in the year, a crystal ball set light to curtains in Romford.
The London Fire Brigade advises people to keep mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from the sunny windowsills.
It’s also recommended to fit at least one smoke alarm per floor and test them every week to make sure they work.