Keep glass objects away from windows, warn firefighters after sunlight is blamed for roof blaze

WATCH: ITV News Meridian's Christine Alsford reports from the house that caught fire

Firefighters are advising people to keep glass objects away from windows after sunlight was identified as the most likely cause of a fire that destroyed a roof in Hampshire.

It's thought that strong rays reflecting off a glass ornament or mirror were to blame for the house fire in Gosport last week.

Incident commander Phil Foxton said: “We believe a combination of the extreme heat and glassware refracting the sunlight possibly sparked this fire

“We advise people not to keep magnifying beauty mirrors or glass objects next to windows. In direct sunlight mirrors and glass can magnify the sun’s rays and burn soft furnishing in the room.

Light shines through the roof of the house in Selsey Avenue, Gosport Credit: ITV News Meridian

“Incidents like this are a rare occurrence, but a shocking reality, which can cause significant damage to your home.

Crews called to the terraced property on Selsey Avenue at 10.29am on June 16 arrived to find the roof on fire and smoke issuing from the building.

The occupants, believed to be in the 70s, were out and nobody was hurt as the roof collapsed, leaving loft insulation all over the beds and curtains hanging off their rails.

They have now been told it will be nine months to a year before they can move back in and are being put up at a hotel in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.

The whole roof is missing Credit: ITV News Meridian

Fire crews say there's no other explanation for what might have led to the blaze.

Jason Boh, station commander at Gosport Fire Station, said: "There was nothing electrical, no other signs of ignition so the most likely cause we believe is through a window and direct sunlight magnifying off something on that window sill.'

His advice: "Close your curtains but also remove anything combustible from direct sunlight."

Though rare, such incidents are not uncommon, with everything from jam jars to glass door knobs and even fish bowls suspected of starting fires.