A WOMAN whose Higher Whitley home set alight after the sun's rays reflected on a mirror is relieved that her beloved dog Byron escaped unharmed.

Fire crews were sent out to the home of Ashlee Crook, in Normans Lane, when the sun's rays hit a mirror and reflected onto curtains – causing a frightening blaze.

Ashlee, whose boyfriend also lives at the property, came home from work early to the sound of her smoke alarm.

She said: “I could smell smoke when I opened the door, and when I went to go upstairs, I could instantly see jet black smoke.

“Thankfully the dog had fled outside already, so I got myself out and dialled 999.

"I feel so relieved that I came home from work early that day because I can’t imagine how far the fire would have spread otherwise, or if Byron would have been ok.

“I’m not putting the mirror back where it was as I never thought for a minute this would have happened, and neither can anyone else that I’ve spoken to about it.”

A similar incident also took place in Warrington on September 9, where the sun reflected on a bedroom mirror.

Both fires were investigated by Lee McGarity, of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, who says that low sun at this time of year and direct sunlight on mirrors pose a real concern for firefighters.

Even during cold spells, the rays from the sun can be very strong and come in at a low angle.

He said: “I’m glad that the people and dogs at both these properties are ok and that the damage is minimal in comparison to what it could have been if the fires had not been detected so soon.

READ > Northwich gas pipe upgrade will bring two weeks' disruption

“Fires started like this are more common at this time of year when the sun lies quite low in the sky.

“If you have a magnifying mirror or other items containing lenses or glass in your home, please ensure they are not facing the sun or in a place where the sun can reflect from them on to materials or objects.”

For further advice on fire safety, visit cheshirefire.gov.uk