A THATCHED cottage in an Oxfordshire village nearly went up in flames this week because it was so sunny.

The small fire was started because the sun's already-sizzling rays were magnified through a convex glass window in a front door.

The woman who lives at the cottage in Childrey near Wantage said she was outside in the garden on Wednesday when she heard her smoke alarm going off.

Oxford Mail:

The front door window which started the fire.

She ran inside to discover smoke filling the ground floor of the house, and called 999.

To make matters worse, her 17th century home is also a Grade II-listed building.

Firefighters from Wantage, Didcot and Faringdon raced to the scene, but luckily the woman figured out where the fire was and put it out before they arrived.

When the firefighters arrived, they worked out that the blaze had been started by the sun's rays magnified through the convex glass window of her front door.

This in turn had started burning a wicker bag in her front porch so it started smouldering.

Oxford Mail:

Hot spot: this was the dazzling sun ray through the front door which set the wicker bag on fire.

Fireman Chris Barber said that, although incidents like it were rare, his team had been called before to fires started by the sun's rays.

He warned homeowners to beware of the risks, adding: "When we have sunny weather like this week the right conditions can be found for glass objects in our homes to enhance the sun’s rays and cause a fire when in contact with combustible items."

He added that it was lucky the woman had a working smoke alarm in the right place so the fire was checked before it did worse damage.