BRIGHT sunshine reflecting off a mirror is suspected to have caused a blaze at a Swanage retirement home at the weekend.

Five fire crews were called to York House in Cauldon Avenue at 9.45am on Sunday after a fire began in a bedroom.

Residents were evacuated as the crews battled the blaze.

Four people were rescued by firefighters.

No one was injured.

Investigators say the likely cause of the blaze is sunshine bouncing off a mirror or magnifying glass.

Group manager Richard Coleman said fire crews based at Swanage, Poole and Wareham attended. The aerial appliance from Westbourne was also called out.

“The fire started in a bedroom and the investigator concluded that the most likely cause was sunlight reflecting off a mirror or magnifying glass, as both were by the window,” he said.

“Where you have a mirror or any other glass object that is curved, this allows the glass to act as a lens.

“When the sunlight hits it, it becomes concentrated and, if the rays are bounced onto something flammable – in this case, curtains - then a fire can start.”

Fire damage was contained to one bedroom as the retirement home has fire doors.

“The likelihood of this happening does depend on the angle of the sun, but any mirror or glass ornament with a curve in it should never be left on a windowsill or by a window,” Mr Coleman said.

Paramedics and police officers joined staff from the home to help affected residents.

The home has space for up to 34 residents, and offers both long-term care and short-term respite care.

Mr Coleman praised staff at York House for their quick and efficient help.

“There was an ordered evacuation of the premises, good care of the residents once outside, and a methodical search of the building by firefighters in support of the staff’s roll call to ensure that everyone was safe," he said.

“The Sandbanks ferry emergency procedures helped us to get all necessary resources to the scene in a timely manner, so our thanks go to them.”

Temperatures hit 19C on Sunday. Thousands flocked to Dorset to make the most of the unexpected autumnal sunshine.