Recent research in the UK, which is expected to be published soon, has shown that on average the fire service attends over one fire each day in a sprinklered building. That is just in the UK. Here is a selection of recent fires, for which we have more than the minimum details.
31 March. At 01:23 Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to a house fire in Medway, Tamworth. The fire was caused by a discarded cigarette in the lounge, which ignited some paper and a plastic Tupperware container. The occupants consisted of an elderly couple and their disabled grandson who was 25 years old and bedbound. In 2014, a tank-fed sprinkler system had been retrofitted by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service after collaborative work with stakeholders. A single sidewall sprinkler head activated and extinguished the fire.
28 March. UK Sprinklers, a sprinkler installer, has reported a recent sprinkler save in a retirement flat in Harrogate. The fire started in a store cupboard when a lithium battery on a bicycle overheated (it wasn’t being charged it just overheated). The sprinkler in the cupboard activated and suppressed the fire. No one was affected by the fire.
22 March. Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service was called at 10:00 to a fire in a manufacturing plant in Birtley. The fire was caused by a motor overheating in a shot blasting booth. The sprinkler system suppressed the fire and confined it to the 20m x 20m shot blasting area. The fire was extinguished by four fire-fighters wearing breathing apparatus, using two hose reels. Assistant Chief Officer John Baines said, “There is no doubt that having an automatic sprinkler system in this building stopped the fire from spreading and prevented potentially severe damage to the rest of the property and the business itself.” A spokesperson for the business said, “The sprinklers have saved us a fortune. I would like to thank the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue teams for the outstanding work they did.”
16 March. A sprinkler system prevented a serious fire at an industrial recycling warehouse in Kensal Green. Around 15 workers evacuated the building before London Fire Brigade attended, after being called 23:02. An industrial shredder containing construction waste was completely gutted in the blaze. The fire was under control by 02:06. Watch manager Dan Green said, “The sprinkler system undoubtedly helped contain the fire from spreading further. Fire-fighters also worked extremely hard to create a water relay from a nearby canal which meant we were able to limit damage and bring this under control quicker.”
16 March. At 05:53 Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to a flat fire at the Oak Priory, Extracare village. The building of 175 flats over 3 storeys was completed two years ago and has a watermist system. The fire was in the lounge in a second floor, single occupancy flat. The occupier was led to safety thanks to the alarm system and the quick actions of the staff. A single head of the misting system activated shortly after the occupant had left, containing the fire to an armchair. There was little smoke damage to the lounge and the rest of the flat was left relatively unaffected. Fire crews reported the fire was extinguished and naturally ventilated the flat. The cause of the fire was accidental.
16 March. At 01:36 Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service received a call to a commercial unit storing plastics, in Chippenham. A fire had occurred in a first floor mezzanine level of a building measuring 50×100 metres. Attending crews found that the fire involved a cage of portable scanners awaiting recycling. One sprinkler head activated which extinguished most of the fire. Fire damage was limited to one storage stillage of 1.2x 1.2metres. Cause of fire is believed to be defective batteries within one of the portable scanners. The building was able to return to normal operations the following day.