Three families have been left homeless after a freak fire tore through their gardens - caused by sunlight reflecting off a shard of broken glass.
The intense reflection from the glass beamed onto a wooden fence panel, setting it alight. The flames rapidly spread behind a row of terraced houses and engulfed a hutch in which two rabbits died.
Smoke damage as a result of the fire has left three properties unliveable and two families have been forced to stay in a hotel with residents of the other property refusing to return.
Mum-of-two Eleanor Sears, 30, said the fire left her six-year-old, autistic son traumatised.
She said: "It was horrible.
"I just felt complete helplessness when I saw the damage that had been done, and there was nothing I could do.
"It didn't actually start in any of the houses - it started in a communal area out the back of our fences, where we keep our bins.
"The garden is totally destroyed. It's in a disgusting state - it's really upsetting.”
Catering assistant Sears said her son's two four-year-old pet rabbits were in their hutch in the garden, and were killed in the fire.
She said: "My son is six years old and autistic. He won't go back to the house, because all he knows is that there was a fire and his rabbits are dead. He's really struggled with it."
Sears and her sons have been living with her mother since the blaze on July 30. They are awaiting rehousing by her local council.
Neighbour Angie Fowler, 57, whose home looks onto the back of the row of houses that caught fire, alerted the fire service when she saw smoke rising past her bedroom window.
She said: "I saw fire spreading across the fences, and the fence panels just catching like mad.
"I immediately hit 999 and quickly ran out to start banging on doors to make sure that nobody was in the houses.
"I was quite proud of myself - normally I'd have panicked seeing something like that, but I just leapt straight into action."
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Fowler said she suspected her niece Sonia, 38, was at home in one of the houses.
She said: "One of her teenage sons was in with a friend, but I made sure they got out of there.
"I think Sonia's is one of the worst affected. There is a lot of water damage from where the fire brigade had to use the hose to put the fire out."
Sonia and her six children, aged from six to 17, are now living a hotel.
Fowler said: "I think she's doing okay. It's been a bit of a shock for her - I think she's just looking forward to getting back into the house and getting back to normal."
But there is no indication as of yet as to when residents can return - and work has not yet begun to repair the fire damage.
A fundraising page has been set up to help replace some of the sentimental items that were lost, with £350 raised so far.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said: "At 3.07pm on Thursday, July 30, crews were called to a fire on Spitfire Road in Cambourne.
"Firefighters arrived to find a well-developed fire involving a house car port, that was quickly spreading to nearby fencing and other properties.
"Wearing breathing apparatus they extinguished using hose reels and jets.
"The fire was caused by rays of sunshine reflecting onto broken glass, which set fire to a fencing panel.
"Due to the hot and dry conditions, the fire quickly spread to the rest of the fence and other properties.
"Although this is rare, fires such as this can happen if glass is left where direct sunlight can reflect onto surfaces.
"This can range from discarded glass bottles to ornaments in windows.
"It also shows how a fire can spread quickly in hot and dry conditions, and how having a bonfire to dispose of rubbish can present significant dangers."
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