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Your stories

How this fire happened

" I have just had a phone call from my sister to tell me that she had gone into her garden immediately after work to carry on painting her fence.

Deciding she would like a cup of tea she went into the house and could smell a rubbery smell.

Thinking a first it was a neighbour burning rubbish she carried on with the tea but soon realised the smell was getting stronger and went upstairs to investigate.

Her makeup mirror on the bedside table had caused her carpet to start singing and she was extrmelly lucky that she found it before too much damage was done." 

"A few years ago on two occasions I discovered a small make-up compact on my dressing table had partially melted. I had no idea why and even a fire officer who had visited to fit an alarm did not know the answer. It was some time later that I realised that it was the mirror on the dressing table in the south facing bedroom in late winter. Fortunately nothing had caught fire."

"We've had two substantial uPVC burns this year, having recently replaced a makeup mirror.

The first was about an inch long, the second perhaps 3.5 inches. It has given us quite a fright and is making us wonder why we've heard so few stories like this.

We've yet to repair the damage, and consider ourselves lucky. I'm wondering whether covering the magnifying side is enough, or whether we need to get rid of such portable mirrors altogether."

"Recently our [model & make supplied] dishwasher burst into flames when it was running at night (4.00 am), the control unit caught alight. Our smoke alarm saved us. I put the fire out with an extinguisher but there is much smoke damage. The domestic RCD unit also helped because it 'popped' the switch and cut off power. Local Lincolnshire Fire Brigade attended but the fire was out by then. They were great, helping put our minds at rest with tidying up and checking everything!"

"I had an electric cooker with a hob and hadn"t realised that I'd left it on. Sometime later I was cleaning the work surfaces and moved my plastic radio to clean underneath it and placed it on the hob. Luckily the foul smell of melting plastic alerted me and I was able to remove it outside. The cooker wasn"t fit to use afterwards but what a lucky escape."

"When a resident"s bedroom I noticed a mirror on the windowsill had reflected onto the mirror back onto the plastic window frame where I noticed a brown spot. I removed the mirror away from the window and reported to the home manager who made the staff aware."

"Reading glasses left on a windowsill in direct sunlight. This resulted in a hole being burnt in clothes as [she] sat in the chair next to the window."

"A fire caused by an electric fire being left on whilst near a bed with lots of clothes left on it. This led to a pub being burned down!"

"I left food in the oven, went out and set fire to the oven."

"Heated a wok with oil in it, my mum forgot about it and the oil and the wok set on fire. We only had a water fire extinguisher so that couldn"t be used."

The effect it had

Safety message

The British Crime Survey shows that Fire & Rescue Services typically attend only 20 % of fires - with 80 % not being reported to them.

The "Your Stories" section is important to us in understanding the true nature of how fires are starting in the 80% of cases that we are not aware of.

We also hope that you will also find it interesting and informative.

"I am a retired fire officer with my own business, carrying out fire risk assessments and fire safety training.

One of my clients had a most unusual fire last year. They are cereal manufacturers and use stainless steel bowls to display some of their products.

A member of staff took one of these bowls and emptied a large bag of 'Kettle' crisps into it during the lunch hour. She placed the bowl on a desk approx 4 feet away from the double glazed window.

About 20 minutes later she reached over to the bowl, without really looking what she was doing, and burnt her hand - the crisps had ignited due to the sun's rays coming through the window! This was in October!

The bowl was about 10 inches in diameter and highly polished on the inside.

I have been in the trade for over 40 years and have never come across this phenomenon. "

" I rarely go up to the top floor of my house but did so today to give the bathroom a clean. I noticed that the vaniety mirror on the window sill was very rusty and decided to throw it away. I was so shocked when I saw the window frame behind it had obviously actually been on fire but thankfully had burned out. I think I was incredibly lucky that I didn't have a major house fire as although I have smoke detectors I am often away. So I think this time I have been very lucky and certainly won't be leaving mirrors on window sills anymore."

"Not fire but thick black smoke from my microwave. It overheated and didn"t switch off after "dialled" one minute."

"I worked in the beauty department of a college where a facial magnifier was left in front of a window. The Sun was shining in and the rays were directed to a plinth which after a time caused it to combust."

"I left a magnified make up mirror on a windowsill and set light to the curtains."

"In the course of installing a flight simulator we opened a 25" mirror outside and proceeded to make the simulator ready to fit in. In less than 1 hour the sum moved around on to the mirror and set fire to the side of the building."

"Bedroom curtains caught alight by a crystal hanging in a window during the summer. Luckily we found it in time."

Further information

Melted Lipstick
"Some years ago I had a digital camera which required four AA batteries. When I used it I would have four rechargeable batteries in the camera and my wife would carry four more spare in her handbag."

Do you have a similar story?

We would be interested to hear from you if you have had a similar experience to the fire detailed above, or would like to raise any related matters or even just generally comment on how useful you found our Black Museum.

Please send us your details and a comments via our on-line feedback form.



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Latest Update :
07 October 2014
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