Aurora Hawley, 5, from Fell Lane in Keighley was on her usual Sunday afternoon trip to see her Grandma and Grandad on Greystones Drive at the end of September when she noticed smoke and a burning smell coming from the wooden panelling in her grandparent’s bathroom.
Knowing something wasn’t right, Aurora ran downstairs to tell her family and insisted that someone come and take a look.
Getting up from his Sunday dinner Aurora’s Grandad, Leo, went to investigate and found that the sun was reflecting off a new magnifying mirror onto wooden panels on the wall, starting a small fire inside them.
Quickly moving the mirror away from the sunlight, Leo got Aurora to safety and made sure the fire had not fully taken hold.
Thankfully the fire went out on its own quickly once the mirror was moved and the family did not need to call WYFRS, but they are all too aware that had Aurora not raised the alarm or if they had not been in when the fire started things could have turned out much differently.
Now, WYFRS has praised Aurora and her quick thinking in a thank you video and they’re asking everyone to be more aware of the dangers of fires starting in this way.
Aurora said: “I looked up and saw some smoke coming out of the wall. I just shrugged my shoulders and kept on washing my hands. Then I smelt fire and was a bit scared and I knew I should go downstairs and tell everybody there was smoke in the bathroom.”
Aurora’s Grandma Mandi Carter-Foley said: “We couldn’t believe it when Leo shouted down that there was a small fire in the panelling. When Aurora first came down and said there was smoke coming out of the wall we thought maybe she could just smell something from outside, so it was only when she insisted that something was wrong that we went to take a look.
“We’re so glad we did, and we’re so proud of Aurora for raising the alarm! Goodness knows what would have happened if she hadn’t – it doesn’t bare thinking about. Her little cousin has been saying she’s a hero without a cape and I totally agree… I’m so proud of her.”
Speaking in the thank you video, firefighter Sian Nortcliffe from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We’ve heard that you’ve been a little bit heroic. We’d like to say a massive thank you from all us for telling your parents and making sure your Grandma knew you’d found a fire in the bathroom. You did a fantastic job, so thank you so much.”
As well as thanking Aurora for her quick thinking, the Service is reminding people to keep mirrors away from windows and direct sunlight – WYFRS was called to six fires caused by mirrors reflecting sunlight onto flammable materials in the year leading up to the end of September (1st October 2019 to 30th September 2020).
Sian adds: “The message is clear – it doesn’t need to be warm summer sun reflecting off a mirror for a fire to start; it can happen at any time of year. Anyone who comes across a fire in their home should close the door and call 999 immediately.
“Aurora’s quick thinking stopped this fire being any worse. Sadly, it’s not always the case and we do sometimes see these types of fires causing significant damage. Make sure you know the risks in your home and do everything you can to keep you and your family safe.”