Fire in Missouri thrift shop sparked by sun shining through snow globe

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This was a different kind of global warming.

Sunlight concentrated through a snow globe sparked a fire in the window display of a Missouri thrift store, according to a report.

The front window of the New Dime Store in Kansas City went up around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, while the shop was still closed for the day, local CBS affiliate KCTV reported.

The sound of a fire alarm alerted customers and employees in a barbershop next door, including manager Josh Gilbert, who ran outside to find the dime store in flames, the report said.

“I took a hammer and broke the glass,” Gilbert told the outlet. “The girls at the barbershop called 911 and started filling up trash cans with water. And we were putting that on the fire.”

With the help of Carl Kuda, a jewelry store owner who came running with a fire extinguisher, the makeshift fire brigade put out the flames shortly before smoke-eaters arrived, according to the report.

No injuries were reported.

The firefighters pinned the blame for the blaze on the sun shining through a snow globe in the dime store’s display, with the tchotchke effectively functioning as a magnifying glass and generating enough heat to spark a fire, KCTV reported.

Similar incidents have been reported in recent years, both in the US and abroad.

In 2013, firefighters in Middlesex Township, Pennsylvania suspected that a snow globe was to blame for a house fire, according to Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA.

The next year, a snow globe in the window of another thrift shop in Bournemouth, England set fake “reindeer food” and snow in the display ablaze, according to The Guardian.

And in 2008, The Baltimore Sun reported that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice for 7,000 snow globes sold in Hallmark Gold Crown stores, with at least two owners complaining that the decorations led to fires.

New Dime Store owner Kimberly Harris, who was home when the fire started, said that though no one was hurt, the damage to the store’s stock was particularly crushing during the holiday season, in a year that has already seen their profits tanked by the coronavirus.

“You have to come in and you’ll smell it and you’ll see. And it’s inside garments,” she told KCTV.

But she thanked her neighbors, saying that without their quick actions, there might be nothing left at all.

“If it wasn’t for them acting like they did and taking action and not waiting for the fire department, it could’ve been a whole lot worse so I am so grateful to them,” she said.

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