Fire on Peckham estate caused by sunlight reflecting off glass bottles onto window sill

News Desk (03 April, 2017)

“These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think... bottles, mirrors and glass ornaments should be kept out of direct sunlight and off sunny window sills," Fire Brigade says

16104Photos by Sandra Tarrant

Smoke billowed from a block of flats at the North Peckham Estate on Saturday, after a fire was caused by the sun’s rays reflecting off glass bottles on a resident’s window sill.

The blaze partly damaged a one-bedroom flat on the first floor of a block in Garnies Close, off Sumner Road.

Firefighters were called at about 7pm and forced entry into the flat, as its tenants were out.

There were no reported injuries.

Fire investigators found a number of glass bottles on a wooden unit and window sill in the corner of the living room.

Photo by Sandra Tarrant

Due to the location of the sun’s rays at the time of the fire, and before the fire broke out, investigators concluded the most probable cause was “ignition due to concentration of the sun’s rays”.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think and this incident shows they are not an urban myth. Bottles, mirrors and glass ornaments should be kept out of direct sunlight and off sunny window sills.

“You should also protect yourself by making sure you have smoke alarms fitted throughout your property. Homes need multiple and linked smoke alarms or you won’t be properly covered. Ideal spots include rooms where you leave electrical equipment running like satellite boxes, computers or heaters; any room where you smoke, and anywhere you charge your mobile or laptop.

“As a minimum you should have smoke alarms on every floor – in the hallways and the rooms you use the most, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen. They should be linked together and tested regularly. If you have a fire, close the door on the blaze, get out stay out and call the Brigade.”

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters and officers were from Peckham, New Cross, Old Kent Road, Dockhead and Brixton fire stations attended the incident.

Officers left the site shortly after 8pm.

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