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Bangor fire: Sunlight sparked freak blaze at property

  • 9-17-2015

A widower and his teenage son have been shocked to discover a fire that destroyed most of their home in Bangor, County Down, was probably caused by sunlight.

Roger Shaw and his teenage son, Carlan, returned to find fire crews at their Gray's Hill flat on 1 September.

They are still awaiting a fire report.

But it is believed sunlight through a window, reflecting off an aftershave bottle on top of a wash bag or mirror, may have set a paper lampshade alight.

The father and son had only started living in the property four days earlier.

Roger said the first he knew of the fire was when a work colleague told him his landlord was at the fence and that his "home had burnt down".

According to the County Down Spectator, Carlan returned from his first day back at school to a scene of devastation, with one bedroom gutted, a second badly damaged and extensive smoke damage elsewhere.

They have had to leave the flat as a result.

"He [Roger] was away at work all day and I had just come home," Carlan said.

"I walked up stairs and the fire was out, but everything was wrecked.

"I managed to get a few things out of my room, that were tucked away in the drawers but most of it is completely smoke damaged and I'm not really going to get any of it back.

"We were lucky no-one was hurt or anywhere near it."

Roger said that despite losing most of their belongings, the blaze had brought him and his son closer together.

"It was rough for the first week, but it has actually turned out to be a blessing, believe it or not," he added.

"There are a lot of good things came from this.

"Me and my son are closer now, we are not caught up by the gimmicks of life, all the material stuff.

"Both of us have been through a lot worse before."

'Intensity'

The pair were also relieved to hear their pet cat, Marmalade, had escaped the fire unhurt.

"The firemen let him out through the bathroom and they said he came flying out," Roger said.

"When I got here, I checked him, but he didn't smell of smoke or anything.

"He's good, he is an old cat, but he is smart."

Assistant group commander Andy Sinclair from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service described such incidents as "rare".

"It takes certain conditions, the sun and the intensity," he said.

"It depends on where it is shining in, it needs to be shining on some sort of combustible material.

"But it does happen and it does show that fire doesn't discriminate and it happens in many different ways and this is just one of the rare occasions that it does happen."

Read More...........
Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC


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