Magnifying glass starts fire in East Hoathly

AN ELDERLY man was treated in hospital after attempting to tackle a blaze at his home with buckets of water.

Firecrews from Lewes and Uckfield went to the property in East Hoathly on Sunday when a fire, caused by a magnifying glass, which had been left on a windowsill, broke out.

The 999 call was made at 3.06pm and crews arrived within two minutes, eventually leaving at 4.39pm.

By the time East Sussex firefighters arrived the man had managed to put the fire out in the first floor bedroom, but with serious repercussions.

The couple were treated for inhaling smoke at the scene.

Watch manager Ian Ritchie who attended, said: “The couple were downstairs and alerted by their smoke alarms, once again proving the value of fitting alarms – which, in this instance, potentially saved their lives. It was very close to becoming a fully involved room fire.

“Our advice in the event of a fire is always to close the door in the affected room, leave the building and call the fire service. The man put himself in a position of severe danger and was very lucky to escape. Although he put the fire out he ended up becoming quite poorly and had to be kept in hospital overnight.

“By the time we got there the building was extremely smoke-logged.”

Lead fire investigation officer Mark Hobbs said firecrews attend a number of similar incidents each year and confirmed they appear to be more common at this time of the year, when the sun is low in the sky and more likely to concentrate its rays through windows.

He said: “We ask homeowners to be careful with placing mirrors, magnifying glasses or similar objects on window sills, especially if the window is south facing. In case of fire, our advice to the public would always be to ‘Get out, stay out and call the Fire and Rescue Service out.”