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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Sunlight reflected off mirror sparks Carlisle house blaze

Firefighters are warning of the dangerous role that strong summer sunlight can play in starting fires after two family pets were killed in a bungalow blaze.

A black Labrador and a black cat died due to smoke inhalation after a fire broke out around 8pm on Tuesday at a property in Wansfell Avenue, Morton, Carlisle.

Firefighters are citing strong sunlight as the cause and investigators believe that a strong beam of sunlight has reflected off a tabletop mirror onto a pile of papers.

“In this case it has gone through the kitchen window and reflected onto some papers and other combustibles. There was no other possible explanation,” said Paul Dean, watch manager at Carlisle West fire station.

“It has been a combination of the strong sunlight, the angle of the mirror and the occupiers being away from the house and the whole thing has started while they were out.”

Mr Dean added that cause was quite rare but wanted people to be aware.

“It is very unusual, however, it has been documented as a cause previously around the county. It most commonly happens in the dry season with grass and gorse with there is something like a glass bottle nearby to reflect the sunlight.

"We need people to be aware as we are coming up to the high point of summer. People need to look and see if a mirror could reflect back on anything combustible.”

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