Sunderland mum's warning after bathroom mirror sets fire to clothing on washing line

A Sunderland mum is warning others after a misplaced mirror started a fire in her yard which destroyed a line of washing.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:42 pm

Emma Krieger hung the washing out to dry on Sunday afternoon (June 13) before leaving the house and going about her day.

Hours later she received a concerning call from her daughter who had found the washing line and all of its contents smouldering on the ground.

The family quickly discovered that the fire, which thankfully had been contained to the washing and the line, was caused by the reflection of the sun from a bathroom mirror which had been left on the outside window ledge two days earlier.

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Emma Krieger with the mirror that caused a fire to her washing line by the reflection off the sun.
Emma Krieger with the mirror that caused a fire to her washing line by the reflection off the sun.

Now the mum-of-three wants to warn others to be aware of the potential risks of such fires to others in Sunderland

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has also issued a warning, saying the ‘power of the sun’s rays are often overlooked when people talk about the source of a fire’.

"My daughter rang me in quite a panic because she found what was left of the washing smoking on the floor,” said 40-year-old Emma.

"She thought she’d smelt burning but assumed it was a barbecue with it being such a nice day.

Emma Krieger and daughter Chloe Dixon with burned clothing

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"There’s scorch marks on some of the walls and the yard floor and part of the waste pipe had begun to melt.

"I’d taken the mirror off my five-year-old the other day, moved it out of her way and left it there and didn’t really think about it again.”

The fire did destroy the washing line and its contents – which included the children’s school uniforms – but thankfully it didn’t spread to the house.

Burned clothing and washing line following a fire

Emma, who is mum to Chloe, 18, Scarlet, 11, and five-year-old Poppy, said: "We were lucky that we’d recently cleared out the yard otherwise it could have ignited bits of cardboard and things which could have made it so much worse.

“If the fire had reached the house the way it’s set up it would have gone through the kitchen. My 18-year-old’s bedroom is at the back of the house and she may have struggled to get out if the fire had spread.

“It’s scary how easy it was. We’re spending more time outside with the nice weather and you don’t always remember to bring everything inside.

“People have lots of crystals, mirrors and other reflective items in the garden as decoration and I want people to be aware that this can happen.”

The damage from the fire caused by the sun reflecting from a mirror in Emma Krieger's garden yard.

A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “The power of the sun’s rays are often overlooked when people talk about the source of any fire.

"The strength and heat cast from the sun down to people’s homes is very deceptive.

"We would urge people to remove items like aerosols, glass objects and mirrors from window sills where they are in direct sun light, as they can respectively quickly heat up and reflect the rays.

"Always be vigilant especially on sunny days over the summer months.”

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