Aussies warned as viral video shows simple house fire danger

The ease at which a house fire can get started has been caught on camera after a woman noticed smoke coming from her couch.

In the footage, which has racked up more than 24.8 million views on TikTok, a beam of intense light can be seen shining on the back of the sofa while smoke wafts out the top. In the clip, a woman lifts the couch cushion up, as she attempts to work out what’s happening.

“I was today years old when I learnt how house fires can start,” the unsuspecting resident, Lydia Cooke, wrote from her home in Cornwall in the UK. “Commence house fire fear,” she added.

A beam of light on a coach and smoke.
TikToker Lydia Cooke said she had no idea what was happening when she noticed smoke coming from her sofa. Source: TikTok

After receiving almost 6,000 comments on her post, the model and influencer went on to explain what had happened in another video where she revealed “the source".

“I was just in the window doing my eyebrows, it was absolutely chucking it down, like there was no sign of sun whatsoever, and then I put the mirror down,” Ms Cooke said. When she returned to the room a few hours later, she realised how sunny it had become. “I turned around and just saw this weird smoke coming from the sofa. I had no idea what was going on.”

She eventually realised that it was the magnifying mirror that she’d put down earlier that day. “It kind of just was the sun in the completely wrong space, beaming onto the mirror,” she said. “It was super scary [but] I am very lucky to have been at home when it happened, and I will be learning from my mistakes.”

TikTokers share fiery tales

The viral warning ignited debate online with many TikTokers taking to the platform to share their own horror stories. “I have had this happen but on a dining chair,” one person wrote, “now I never leave the house without putting the blinds down.”

Others said it occurred in a slightly different way. “A friend’s house caught fire from a drinking glass left out on the porch reflected onto a garbage bag and it ignited,” someone explained.

“This happened to me one time,” another added. “The sun came through the window, through a glass of water on the coffee table and burnt a whole in my couch.”

While one user even praised the footage as the “perfect example as to why you should move mirrors and reflective things from near windows.”

Lydia Cooke with her mirror.
Ms Cooke said sun beaming into her make-up mirror through the window caused her sofa to catch fire. Source: TikTok

Aussie fireman’s warning to residents

Fortunately firefighters Down Under say these types of incidents are very rare and that you’d have to be “deadset unlucky” for a blaze to start like this.

“You’d have to be really unlucky, to have a really hot day, the weather conditions perfect, low humidity, magnification through your glass and your glass clean,” Superintendent Adam Adam Dewberry told Yahoo News Australia. “It would have to be the perfect storm where everything is perfect for that to occur. But it can occur.”

While accidents like this would be “unlikely” in the eastern states as the cooler sun comes up, Supt Dewberry explained that a strong afternoon sun in the summer could spell disaster.

He’s warning anyone who notices a strong period of sun through their windows for any part of the day to check if any items could be used to magnify and intensify those rays, and then take appropriate measures like putting blinds down.

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