Shocking images show the scale of devastation following a house fire which was caused by the sun reflecting from a WIND CHIME.
Tim Sampson, 35, had his living room completely gutted by the freak blaze which was sparked by the glass ornament on May 23.
The wind chime, which was hanging above a windowsill in his front roof, is believed to have magnified the sun’s rays and ignited the curtains and floorboards.
The inferno quickly engulfed the rest of the downstairs area causing extensive damage to Mr Sampson’s terraced home in Sleaford, Lincs.
Mr Sampson said he had been walking his pet dog when he noticed the smell of smoke before realising his home was the source as he reached the end of the street.
He said: “It was pouring up and out of the chimney. I dropped my dog’s lead and ran, with him chasing me to the house.
“There was already another man outside ringing the fire brigade and the front window had cracked from the heat.
“I ran into the back of the house and grabbed a few things like money and my phone then went into the garage and turned the electric off.”
The heat was so intense it melted his computer storing family photos and videos and his stereo and music collection, and warped copper plumbing pipes.
Friends and family have been helping him clear out several trailer-loads of ruined belongings as Mr Sampson was forced to live in a fishing tent in the garden for a week.
But thanks to the efforts of a neighbour who dosed the fire with a hosepipe and fire crews, there was only moderate smoke damage to the rest of the property.
Mr Sampson, a factory worker, added: “Two or three more minutes and the fire would have spread to the next room and the firefighters may have lost the whole house.
“I would say 90% we have had to chuck out. My PC is ruined. There was five years’ worth of data on that. I’m 35 and I lost 30 years of photos, including from when I was a kid.
“The fire investigator was digging around and found a prism wind chime on the floor.
“There was a hole where it has burned the curtain which then dropped and burned a hole in the floorboards.”
Mr Sampson’s pet tarantulas survived in their glass tanks in the adjacent room and luckily his his cat was out.
He added: “The tarantulas are just fine but their tank was five feet away from the front room where the blaze was.
“I was in shock so I only remembered about them 10 minutes after I’d gone in for my phone and wallet.”
He hopes the freak incident will now act as a warning to other homeowners regarding the dangers of leaving glass ornaments on windowsills in the sun.
Mr Sampson added: “People should really know about it. That chime has been there 10 years. I don’t know how or why it happened.
“But I want other people to know of the dangers to stop the same happening to somebody else.”