East Devon: Sunlight reflecting off a bathroom mirror burns into a towel, sparking a safety warning from firefighters

Firefighters in East Devon said it ‘could have been a different story’ if a woman had not investigated the smell of burning coming from the bathroom at a home near Axminster.

The scorched towel – spotted in a bathroom at a home in the East Devon village of Whitford – has prompted firefighters to warn of the blaze risk ‘magnifying glass’ mirrors can pose.

The crew at Colyton Fire Station is urging care when positioning mirrors, after a towel stored in a bathroom at a home near Axminster started smouldering as a result of the sun’s reflection.

East Devon

The crew said it was ‘lucky’ the woman was at home and investigated the burning smell.
Photo: Colyton Fire Station.

A woman at the Whitford property, in East Devon, called the fire service on Monday (October 17) after she noticed a burning smell in the home, but was unable to pinpoint the cause.

East Devon

The fire crew believe the mirror acted as a magnifying glass, reflecting the heat of the sun onto the towel.
Photo: Colyton Fire Station.

Colyton firefighters said they believed the fire damage to the towel was caused by sunlight reflecting off a mirror.

The crew said it was ‘lucky’ the woman was at home and investigated the burning smell.

A Colyton fire station spokesperson said: “Today a crew member visited a property where the resident could smell burning in the bathroom but couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.

“Upon further investigation a rolled-up towel in a storage basket was found to be scorched.

“There was no electric or matches close to the basket, so what caused the burning?

“The bathroom had a window and close to the basket of towels was a mirror.

“We believe the sun light reflected off the mirror and onto the towel, causing it to smoulder.

“Luckily the lady was at home and investigated, but if she had been out, it could have been a different story.”

The fire station spokesperson added: “Don’t leave bathroom mirrors where the sunlight can reflect off of them.”


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