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Warning issued as fire cause identified

By Connor Steel

FIREFIGHTERS have confirmed the cause of a house fire in Gosport last week which saw a large scale emergency response from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Services (HIWFRS) crews amidst a roof collapse in the town; causing damage to the two-storey house located in Selsey Avenue, Elson.

As reported in the Globe last week, the blaze forced an evacuation of nearby properties and was tackled by firefighters for three hours on June 16 alongside a salvage operation to rescue belongings. The occupants were out of the property and nobody was hurt as the roof buckled under the heat of extreme flames.

And six days later the fire service have conducted their investigations; announcing their findings in a statement on their website. It is believed that the fire started due to the sun reflecting on glass as the temperatures rose to 25 degrees Celsius at the time of the incident; a conclusion that has been passed onto police who were aiding their investigation and attended the scene alongside fire crews.

Alongside the published conclusion HIWFRS have reminded people to ensure that items such as glass ornaments and mirrors aren’t left near windows unattended; where they could catch and reflect sun light that may ignite fires (particularly on higher floors / storeys).  This is relevant more than ever as the area has seen some warm and lovely sunshine this week, with more to come as the weekend approaches.

Announcing the fire-fighter’s findings from last Thursday’s fire, incident commander Phil Foxton said in a short statement released on Wednesday morning (June 22): “We believe that a combination of the extreme heat and glassware refracting the sunlight possibly sparked this fire.”

“We advise people not to keep magnifying beauty mirrors or glass objects next to windows. In direct sunlight mirrors and glass can magnify the sun’s rays and burn soft furnishing in the room. Incidents like this are a rare occurrence, but a shocking reality, which can cause significant damage to your home.”

For more updates on breaking news and findings on similar incidents across Hampshire, including the Isle of Wight, readers can visit the HIWFRS website that is available here.

PICTURED BY HIWFRS: Scene of fire on Selsey Avenue, Gosport, last Thursday morning (June 16).