Mother-of-two home nearly set ablaze due to child’s toy

A children’s toy mirror had reflected sunlight to the window frame, causing it to melt.

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A mother of two from Sunniside is praising Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and their quick response, after her home was nearly set ablaze due to a children’s toy.

Dannielle, aged 38, is mother to India, aged four, as well as a one-year-old boy, and was rushing around trying to get the children ready for their childminder, when she discovered her living room filled with smoke.

Young India wanted to grab a toy from the living room before leaving, but as Dannielle opened the door to the room, she was confronted by smoke.

She closed the door to ensure the fire didn’t spread, and rushed out of the property, before calling TWFRS for help.

Crews from both Swalwell and Newcastle Central Community Fire Station arrived at Dannielle’s home in a matter of minutes.

However, upon their arrival, the smoke had dissipated and firefighters could not find the source of the fire.

A short while later, Dannielle discovered the window frame melting, which had been caused by the sunlight shining on her daughter’s toy mirror and reflecting the heat onto the window frame, causing the PVC to burn.

Dannielle, with the support of the service, is now urging the public to be careful when leaving reflective items in direct sunlight.

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Dannielle said: “If I had been out all day, who knows what could have happened.

“It smelt very electrical and the smoke was very hazy, like when you put out a candle. It had burned a black hole into the window frame.

“That living room gets so much light, it can get really hot – I even have to put blankets on the sofas in the summer because it gets so hot.

“Thankfully we were running late that day so we hadn’t left the house yet, if we had, who knows what we’d have come back to.

“I want to thank the firefighters who were here so quickly and who have been really helpful since the incident.

“You wouldn’t think that a child’s toy could put your family at risk. It was a lucky escape for us but someone else may not be so lucky so please be careful.”

Station Manager for Swalwell Community Fire Station Jon Anderson said: “We’ve had an unusually cold and wet summer so often we don’t think about the sun causing fires in this way.

“But the mirror will magnify the sun rays and bounce them back into your home, we’ve seen fire start from bathroom mirrors left on the window sill.

“Although this doesn’t happen often it can be devastating and as the weather starts to pick up we want you to be safe in your home.

“So make sure you are checking what’s been left out before you go to bed, including turning off your chargers, so that you aren’t in a similar situation to Dannielle.”

He continued: “It could be a child’s mirror, it could be a bathroom mirror, or it could be a glass item that can concentrate heat in much the same way.”