Heat from sun’s rays sparks fire at cottage

It was so hot last week that a fire was started in a listed building by the sun’s rays magnified through a window.

A thatched cottage in Childrey, near Wantage, nearly went up in flames when the sun’s rays were magnified through a convex glass window in a front door.

This in turn led to burning of a wicker bag in the front porch of the Grade II-listed house so it started smouldering.

The home owner was outside when she heard smoke alarms and returned inside to find smoke in her High Street home shortly after 6pm last Wednesday.

She ran inside to discover smoke filling the ground floor and called 999.

The woman extinguished the fire before crews from Wantage, Didcot and Faringdon arrived.

A fire service spokesperson said: “When we have sunny weather like this week the right conditions can be found for glass objects to enhance the sun’s rays and cause a fire when in contact with combustible items.

“Luckily the occupier was alerted by working smoke alarms in the home.”