A blaze that destroyed part of the 17th century Grade II listed Luckington Manor on Friday was most likely caused by sunlight reflecting off a mirror.
Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to the property at 1.16pm after fire broke out in a first floor bedroom. At the height of the incident, ten fire engines and a number of support appliances were in attendance, and crews from all but three of the service’s 24 hour fire stations were at the scene at some point.
Following a fire investigation, it has been concluded that the most likely cause was sunlight reflecting off a mirror.
Station Manager Jack Nicholson said: “Where you have a mirror or any other glass object, such as an ornament, that is curved, this allows the glass to act as a lens. When the sunlight hits it, it becomes concentrated, and if the rays are bounced onto something flammable, such as curtains or bedding, then a fire can start.”
He added: “The principle is the same as using a magnifying glass to start a fire. It does depend on the angle of the sun, but any mirror or glass ornament with a convex or concave curve in it should never be left on a windowsill or any surface by a window.”
While one wing of the manor house suffered significant damage, the fire was contained to this area, in part because the property was fitted with smoke detectors, which raised the alarm.