Firefighters are warning Londoners to keep shiny objects away from direct sunlight after a glass doorknob set a house of fire in Brent.
The blaze at a family home in Wendover Road, Willesden is believed to have started after a coat was taken off a glass doorknob, allowing the sun's rays to focus on nearby clothing.
Thanks to the sound of their smoke alarm the family were able to escape without injury.
Clare Thomson, who was at home at the time of the fire, says such doorknobs should come with a fire risk warning.
“I was amazed at how intense the low September sun could be and I was amazed at how quickly a small fire could take place,” said Ms Thomson.
“I dread to think what would have happened if I had not been at home.
“Since the fire, I have been asking all my friends if they have smoke alarms, and if they know that they are actually working and checked.
“I would advise people not to buy crystal doorknobs, and I would advise home stores to be aware of the fire risk when stocking. Or, at least, such doorknobs should come with a warning.”
London Fire Brigade (LFB) were called to reports of a fire in Wendover Road at 7.18pm on September 8.
Firefighters managed to get the flames under control by 7.36pm, and the blaze was confined to the area it originated.
Fire crews from Park Royal and North Kensington fire stations attended.
The family were later able to return to their home.
The blaze has reignited warnings from the fire brigade to keep crystal or glass objects such as shaving mirrors, sparkly doorknobs and large jars, out of direct sunlight.
According to Charlie Pugsley, head of the brigade’s fire investigation team, these type of incidents are not as rare as you would think.
“I’ve seen everything from sparkly doorknobs and crystal balls to glass fish bowls and Nutella jars containing crystals starting fires.
“Crystal and glass ornaments and items such as shaving mirrors should be kept out of direct sunlight.
“The homeowners were extremely lucky and they were alerted to the fire by their smoke alarm.
“I would urge everyone to ensure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and know what to do in the event of a fire.”
Top three sunlight safety tips
Keep concave mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from sunny window sills and flammable materials.
Fit at least one smoke alarm per floor and test them every week to make sure they work and the batteries are not flat.
If you have a fire, close the door on the blaze, get out, stay out and call the fire brigade
Fires started mostly by everyday household items
There have been several fires across west London started by everyday household items. A fire in an outbuilding in a garden in Perivale was caused by sunlight refracting from a glass item in a nearby shed.
Or there was the time when a house caught fire in Baron's Court after the sun's rays reflected off a mirror.
Last year, there was a similar incident where a man was saved by a smoke alarm after a make-up mirror caught the sun's rays and reflected onto the curtains, sparking huge flames.
A devastating incident where a house was gutted and the family's dog killed after a Nutella jar on a window sill magnified the sun's rays and started a huge inferno.
Do you remember when a stray hairdryer started a chain of events which caused an explosive blaze at a home in Kensington?
Air conditioning Units
Just last month, four people fled their homes in Chelsea after a fire was caused by a portable air conditioning unit.
Over the last two years there have been several fires caused by tumble dryers including the most recent one in Shepherd's Bush flats where the dryer needed repairing.
Earlier this year there was a fire caused by a tumble dryer in Harrow which promoted a LFB campaign.
In 2014, there was dramatic footage from a blaze as punters fled their local pub, The Castle, in Harrow on the Hill, after a fire was caused by a tumble dryer.