Warning issued to residents after crystal doorknob starts fire in Harlesden house
12:41 23 September 2016
Fire chiefs are urging people to keep items such as crystal furnishings and shaving mirrors out of the way of direct sunlight after a glass doorknob sparked a blaze in a housie in Harlesden.
London Fire Brigade’s top three sunlight safety tips
• Keep concave mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from sunny 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 brigade
The fire was believed to have started after a coat was removed from a glass doorknob which focused the sun’s rays on nearby clothes.
Luckily the property had a smoke alarm which alerted the family and they safely evacuated the house.
Clare Thomson, who was at home at the time of the fire earlier this month, said: “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. 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.”
Ms Thomson and her family were able to return to their home after firefighters put the blaze out.
Charlie Pugsley, head of the London Fire Brigade’s investigation team, said: “These sort 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.”