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Mirrored headboard turns into 'big magnifying glass,' burns Fresno home's carport to crisp

It wasn't particularly hot in Fresno on Sunday, but there was enough sunlight to bounce off of a mirrored headboard discarded in the back of a home.

Enter the freak event.

The headboard's mirror essentially did what children with a mean streak and a magnifying glass have done to ants for years. Except in this situation, the sun's beam was redirected to the home's carport -- which went up in flames. 

“A mirror is pretty much like a big magnifying glass,” said Hector Vasquez, spokesman for the Fresno Fire Department.

The family who lived in the home had left the headboard out in the back of the home in the 2300 block of Weller Street in Fresno. They were doing some spring cleaning. The large headboard was resting near a wood-framed carport that contained a vehicle and several boxes.

Just after 4 p.m., the mirrored headboard sparked the fire, Vasquez said. There's no video evidence to prove this, he said, but "that was the only thing that makes any logical sense."

It took about 25 firefighters roughly six minutes to put out the flames, which destroyed the vehicle and carport, but didn’t spread to the home.

The firefighters got a clue of the blaze's cause when they felt radiant heat from the mirror, which also occasionally blinded them with the sun's reflection, Vasquez said.

The cause of the fire was ruled as accidental, and damage was about $15,000.

Such fire causes are unusual, Vasquez said. But it is not unheard of that a wildfire starts when the sun's reflection hits a glass bottle left in the forest, he said.

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