School saved by fire sprinkler

A fire broke out at Marriotts School in Stevenage on the second floor of the main building in a toilet cubicle.  The sprinkler system activated and extinguished the fire within minutes with minimal damage to the school building.  This has to be seen as another great example of a fire sprinkler system, saving both life and property.  

Sprinkler System in Shopping Centre Attacked by Mob Contains

'Mark O'Meara from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service reports that on Tuesday 9th August a severe fire occurred in a shop unit at the Salford Centre, Manchester, during the riots that affected the city. The centre manager indicated that the sprinklers activated and although it struggled with the size of the fire it still contained it until FRS extinguished it. The fire was contained to the unit, the centre is still operating.

Greater Manchester Fire Service reported 155 fires across Manchester city centre and Salford during the time the unrest was taking place and so details of the incident are sketchy at present.'  This is an important demonstration that properly designed sprinkler systems will cope with even extreme circumstances and that sprinklers are an effective counter to deliberately started fires.

Sprinkler System Saves Potential Grenfell 2.0

On the 8th June 2019 a fire in Eunice Kelly’s flat in Greater Manchester was contained before it could spread to the other 57 homes in her block. The building is run by For­Housing group which spent £5million on sprinklers in its 17 tower blocks after Grenfell. Assets director Mark Lowe said: “This single situation has made the investment worthwhile.” This is yet another example of countless numbers of lives being saved by the simple installation of a sprinkler system.

Another example of such success comes from the 6th of January 2019. A fire which started just after midnight on 6 January in the kitchen of a flat on the 11th floor of Tamar House was contained and fully extinguished by the retrospectively installed sprinkler system. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service promotes the installation of sprinklers in high rise and many other types of residential premises as there is clear evidence that sprinklers can rapidly control the spread of fires.

Sprinklers Save Firebombed DIY Superstore, Belfast

The BBC Northern Ireland carried this story on 15 October:

"Police appealed for keyholders to check premises. Police have warned traders in Newtownabbey to be extra vigilant after a fire bomb attack on a B&Q store in the area.    The store on Mill Road sustained smoke and water damage after a fire broke out near wood in the DIY section. The sprinkler system kept the fire under control until firefighters arrived at about 2340 BST on Saturday.    

Assistant Divisional Commander Gary Allen of the NI Fire and Rescue Service said the system prevented major damage.    "We went in and found the fire and put it out. When we were looking through the material that had been burning we found one of the devices placed within a quantity of wood," he said.    "Because of the sprinklers in the B&Q premises, the fire was very, very small and we were able to deal with it quickly and stop it spreading."   

 BAFSA Member John McCann of API Vipond says that this is the third such fire and sprinkler stop inbolving B&Q stores in the province. A similar fire at the DIY chain's premises at Coleraine on Sunday 8th October was also controlled by the sprinkler system.

Sprinklers Saves Rome Department Store

Alan Brinson of the EFSN advises that the Rome daily I Messaggiero reports that at 11.30 on 30 August a fire started in the Standa Oviesse department store in Trastevere. The sprinkler system operated and extinguished the fire. Meanwhile the fire services helped customers to evacuate the store. Nobody was hurt. The fire is believed to have been started by a homeless person who was seen in the store near where the fire started.

Sprinklers would have Contained Liverpool Arena Blaze

car park fire liverpool arenaA car park at Kings Dock, close to the Echo Arena in Liverpool, went up in flames on New Year’s Eve. The final event of the Liverpool International Horse Show had to be cancelled as fire crews tackled the inferno and people were evacuated from the area. Witnesses described abandoning their vehicles and running for their lives as the fire broke out.

Fire investigators believe the blaze started at 4.30pm on Sunday when the engine of an old Land Rover accidentally ignited. The fire spread rapidly through the seven-storey car park, destroying 1,600 vehicles and seriously damaging the building. It’s currently unknown whether the building will have to be demolished.

Luckily no people or animals were seriously injured in the blaze. Six dogs were rescued from cars. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and one woman injured her hand whilst trying to escape. Local people offered lifts and accommodation to those left stranded.



Throttling pipework in the most favorable area.

This week I have been looking at VDS CEA 4001 guidance for sprinkler systems especially the hydraulic calculation section. I came across an interesting section which have not seen another standards, the ability to have a section a pipe in the hydraulic most favourable area of operation which is smaller than the supply pipe.  The purpose of this pipe is to help you  to balance the most favourable area with the most remote area by produce a very high pressure loss in a short section of pipe.  By bringing the 2 areas hydraulically closer together will give you a better QMax calculation and a saving in the required tank capacity.

Two years on from Grenfell fire

Two years on from the tragedy of Grenfell where 72 people died, the law still states that in England only new residential properties above 30 m in height must be fitted with sprinklers. In commercial buildings such as warehouses, only those over 20,000 sqm must have sprinklers. Last year 334 people died as a result of fires and over 80% of these are from single occupancy dwellings such as houses, flats and maisonettes. Is it not time to change the law and fit all new residential properties with sprinklers?

The Grenfell fire was similar to one that broke out in Dubai in 2016 - the difference is that "the building [in Dubai] had sprinklers and nobody was killed", according to Alan Brinson of the European Fire Sprinkler Network. The need for change is apparent which is why Scotland and Wales have both updated their laws regarding fire safety and sprinklers. In Wales, sprinklers have had to be fitted in all new residential properties since 2016 and in Scotland they have to be fitted in buildings of six storeys or more.

Furthermore, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has frequently called for changes to sprinkler regulations, notably during their campaign week in May 2019. Their research showed that sprinkler systems are highly effective when they operate; extinguishing or containing the fire on 99% of occasions. This research also demonstrated that in both converted and purpose-built flats, sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires when they function correctly.

The case for new sprinkler legislation, particularly in England & Wales is undoubtedly strong. In almost any other industry, regulations would have already been updated and perhaps the time has finally come. On the 6th of September, the government has proposed plans that all new housing blocks of 6 stories or more would require sprinklers. Moreover, a ‘protection board’ is being set up to identify new risks with the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Association; £10m a year is being earmarked to support the board.

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