A FAMILY came home today to discover their house had nearly burnt down because of a mirror next to a window reflecting the sun's rays.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has now warned residents about the danger of the sun being 'low in the sky' at this time of year and urged householders to store any mirrors or glass away from windows and furnishings.

The family who live in Hanney Road in Southmoor, near Abingdon, were out when the fire started in a bedroom this afternoon.

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One of the family came home at about 1pm to discover smoke filling the house and the smoke alarm going off.

After they called 999, firefighters from Abingdon and Didcot raced to the scene and donned special breathing appartus to get inside.

After using high-pressure hoses to douse the flames spreading in the first floor bedroom, they traced the blaze to a small mirror left by the window which they now think reflected the sunlight onto flammable items in the room.

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Watch Manager Neil Priestley form Abingdon Fire Station said: “This was a very serious fire which if it hadn’t been for the fire crews quickly containing the fire to the bedroom, could have resulted in the fire spreading rapidly to other areas of the house.

"We cannot stress how important working smoke alarms are to save lives and protect property please check yours weekly."

Station manager Darran Hookway added: “During this time of year, when the sun is low in the sky, I would urge people to ensure that mirrors, glass and any other objects that have the potential to magnify the sun’s rays, are stored safely away from windows and furnishings."

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