Harley Street fire caused by ‘sunlight reflecting off make-up mirror'

More than 70 firefighters tackle blaze

Saturday, 9th June 2018 — By Richard Osley

westend 2018-06-08 at 14.17.53

More than 30 emergency calls were made as flames were seen on the upper floors [Pic @Glorious_Gooner]

A FIRE which ripped through a block of flats in Marylebone is believed to have been started by heat caused by intense sunlight reflecting off a mirror.

More than 30 emergency calls to the London Fire Brigade were made on Saturday afternoon as ferocious flames were seen from an upper floor of the block in Harley Street.

Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus rescued an elderly woman on a staircase inside the building and she was later taken to hospital.

More than 70 firefighters were on the scene with response teams arriving from nine different stations, including Paddington, Soho, Kentish Town and Islington. “Smoke pouring out at an unbelievable rate, even though some of upstairs windows are closed,” one witness tweeted.

The entire fourth floor was wrecked. The brigade said in a statement: “The cause of the fire is believed to be sunlight reflecting off a make-up mirror. “The brigade was called at 17.59 and the fire was under control by 19.12.”

It has warned people to keep mirrors and other reflective ornaments away from direct sunlight in recent weeks after two other fires which are believed to have been sparked this way. In Camden Town last month a council flat was severely damaged and neighbours needed to be helped to safety after a fire which investigators linked to a mirror.

Another incident took place in Fulham, when sunlight hitting a shaving mirror was thought to be the cause.

“These sort of incidents are not as rare as you would think. In the last five years we’ve seen over 100 fires caused by the sun’s rays,” the brigade said. “Our advice is to make sure that you keep mirrors, crystals, glass ornaments and other reflective items out of direct sunlight at all times.”

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