Last updated: 16/04/2020, 11:08 AM

Sunlight reflecting off a shaving mirror causes fire at Belgravia home of actress Joan Collins

13/04/2019 16:28
House or flat fire

Sunlight reflecting off a shaving mirror and setting light to a blind is believed to be the cause of a fire which broke out in the Belgravia home of actress Joan Collins.

Joan and her husband Percy Gibson were in the flat a the time of the fire and were alerted to the blaze by a smoke alarm sounding.

The fire started in an en-suite bathroom in the flat on the first floor of the seven-storey building.


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Mr Gibson attempted to tackle the fire with a water extinguisher and they were both out of the property when firefighters arrived. They were both checked at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews but neither were taken to hospital. 

Crew Manager Chucks Abili, who was at the scene, said: “These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think and this incident shows that fires can happen in anyone’s home.

“Particularly at this time of year, the sun is low in the sky so the concentrated rays can set light to nearby items. We’ve seen fires caused by glass doorknobs, jars and bottles on windowsills and hanging crystals.

“Our advice is to always keep crystals, glass objects and mirrors away from windowsills and out of direct sunlight.

“This is also a reminder of the importance of have smoke alarms fitted throughout your home, as they give the earliest possible warning of fire. 

“Although Mr Gibson did a good job in tackling the fire initially and managed to stop it spreading, he could have been more seriously hurt. We would always advise people to leave their property immediately and dial 999."

The Brigade was called at 1628 and the fire was under control by 1736. Two fire engines and a turn table ladder from Soho fire station attended the scene.

The Brigade's top three safety tips to avoid sunlight fires

  • Keep mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from sunny windowsills
  • Fit smoke alarms in every room where there is a risk of a fire starting and test them regularly
  • If you have a fire, close the door on the blaze, get out, stay out and call 999


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