Crystal Doorknob Sparks Fire in London Home After Refracting Sun's Rays

July 13, 2014

A fire that destroyed part of a $2.5 million home in south London was caused by the sun's rays shining on a crystal doorknob.

According to a news release by the London Fire Brigade, the blaze started when light from a nearby window refracted through a crystal bathroom doorknob, causing a bathrobe to catch fire.

The house was empty at the time, but nearby builders called authorities after hearing the fire alarm. No one was injured, but the bedroom was significantly damaged.

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"The focal length from the window was just the right distance and it became the same principle as when you try to set fire to paper with a magnifying glass when you are a child," Charlie Pugsely of the London Fire Brigade's investigation unit told the Telegraph.

Earlier this year, firefighters responded to a similar incident in northeast London, where a crystal ball set fire to curtains. Firefighters are warning homeowners to keep crystal items out of direct sunlight and away from sunny windowsills.

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