A fire at a Bognor bungalow last weekend has prompted reiterated warnings from firefighters about the dangers of glass and mirrored objects near windows.
Bognor fire crews were called out to a fire in Ormesby Crescent, Felpham at around 6pm on Saturday (July 14), after being alerted to an automatic fire alarm by Chichester Careline, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed.
A fire service spokesman said three fire engines were called to tackle a 'well-developed' fire in the front of the property, started accidentally by a glass ornament that was left on the window sill.
Hannah Harding, who lives at the property, said: “It was the scariest situation that I have ever been in - the fire started and grew so quickly. Within minutes the house was full of smoke with glass exploding and smoke everywhere.
“My whole house is fire and smoke damaged and at the present time, we are unable to live in the property.
“I would encourage everyone reading this to go and check that their windows are clear of glass and mirrored objects as I would hate for anyone else to go through this.”
A fire service spokesperson said the glass ornament on the window sill caught the sunlight and concentrated the sun’s rays, causing the ignition.
She said: "The same result can be produced by mirrors, metal bowls and decorative window glass.
"Hannah was in the garden when the fire alarm sounded and discovered a curtain alight in the living room, with the fire rapidly spreading to the sofa."
She added that firefighters entered the property wearing breathing apparatus and used hose reels and jets to extinguish the fire.
Pete Sadler, station manager, who attended the incident, said that although these type of incidents are more 'common' in the winter months 'when the sun is low', the 'risk remains all year round'.
He added: “It is vital that residents understand the dangers of having glass and mirrored objects in the view of windows.
"Although, even more importantly we are urging people to fit smoke alarms in their properties and test them on a weekly basis - it won’t prevent a fire but it will give you an early warning, allowing you to promptly escape.”
Further fire safety advice can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.