FIRE investigators have warned people to be careful with reflective objects during the hot weather after a magnifying glass started a fire in a commercial building. 

The object was the unexpected culprit for the accidental blaze in Newcastle city centre after being left on a window sill.

The initial call had come into Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's Control at 10.03am on Saturday (June 18th) - with the first of three appliances on the scene in five minutes.

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Upon arrival firefighters from Newcastle Central and Byker Community Fire Stations found a small fire and quickly extinguished it before it could spread.

Sunlight had reflected off the magnifying glass and then concentrated on two cardboard boxes containing a set of plastic scales.

Steven Walker, Watch Manager for Red Watch at Newcastle Central Community Fire Station, has said the incident is a timely warning to the public.

He said: “People can sometimes forget the dangers that can be present on a hot summer’s day. “In this instance, it was fortunate that our firefighters were quick on to the scene after building staff were alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm.

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“Our advice to all business premises and residential properties would be for any magnifying glasses, or mirrors, to be stowed away from direct sunlight.

“Alternatively, lower window blinds if the room is out of use, particularly during summer periods when the risk is greater.

“The sun can be a very dangerous commodity that catches people unaware when it comes down to its potential for starting fires.

“If it wasn’t for the building’s smoke alarms our crews may not have been on scene as quickly as they were.

“So it is also a timely reminder to make sure you have a working alarm fitted. If you don’t then please take action now.”

Nobody was injured during the incident.

If you have any questions then why not contact our Fire Safety Team at

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