Bury St Edmunds: Magnifying glass sparks house fire

Wendy Fuller, of Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, had a flat fire after sunlight shone through a m

Wendy Fuller, of Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, had a flat fire after sunlight shone through a magnifying glass - Credit: Archant

Sunlight shining through a magnifying glass sparked a “one in a million” fire at a west Suffolk home.

The scene of the fire

The scene of the fire - Credit: Archant

Neighbours smashed their way into Wendy Fuller’s Georgian home in Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, after they saw smoke billowing out from beneath her door at about 11am yesterday.

The 71-year-old, who was out at the time of the blaze, said she returned home after receiving worried calls on her mobile.

“I was so lucky that it wasn’t more serious. The couple upstairs were in bed because they had just got back from holiday – the whole house was lucky.”

She added: “The fire brigade told me it was one in a million.”

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Ms Fuller said she had not thought twice about leaving the reading light and magnifying glass standing by the window.

“I use it more in the winter, but it was still sitting there, plugged in,” she said.

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“I had a pile of papers and a book, birthday cards that were ready to go out for July and August. The fireman said that when they came in, there was just a pile of ash.”

Three fire engines arrived at the property, which is located in Bury’s prestigious mediaeval grid, and crew members wearing breathing apparatus used a single hose reel to put out the fire.

Ms Fuller, who was checked over by a paramedic, said she wanted to thank neighbours and fire crews.

“I would like to thank all of the emergency services. The fire service said my neighbours had done the right thing. Everyone has been very helpful.”

She added that she hoped other people would now be aware of the danger posed by keeping magnifying glasses in places where they could be exposed to full sunlight.

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