Sprinkler system douses flat fire | News

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Sprinkler system douses flat fire

Parkside A POTENTIALLY devastating kitchen fire was doused by a sprinkler system which stopped it from becoming a major incident in one of our properties.

The fire - which started on the 13th floor of Parkside Court in Melbourne Avenue, Chelmsford, the highest tower block in the city - occurred in the flat of a resident after a chip pan caught alight on a hob.

Following the outbreak of the fire, the sprinkler system activated and largely extinguished the fire, preventing it from growing and spreading to other properties, by the time the fire crews arrived.

Working with Essex County Fire and Rescue Services (ECTRS), we installed the sprinkler system in all 53 flats and communal areas in the15 storey tower block in May 2014.

Installing the sprinklers - which saw Parkside Court become the first high-rise property in the county to fit them - cost us £170,000, although we received £50,000 in funding from ECFRS as part of the service’s matched funding scheme.

Divisional Officer Mark Earwicker, Technical Fire Safety, said: “This shows just how valuable sprinkler suppression systems are. This fire could easily have spread and caused a huge amount of damage to a number of flats but because the sprinkler activated it was contained and largely extinguished by the time crews arrived.

“In this case the system did exactly what we knew it would: contained a fire and minimised damage in the block. Simply put sprinklers provide the best fire protection available. They are proven life savers; there are no recorded cases of multiple fire deaths in premises where sprinklers are fitted.”

Graham Thomson, Surveying and Contracts manager, commented: “We are pleased that the sprinkler system worked as it should and prevented the spread of, what was originally a minor fire, from becoming a major incident. The safety of our residents is paramount to us which is why we worked closely with Essex County Fire and Rescue Services to install the sprinkler system.

“We believe that sprinklers offer the most efficient means to give occupants time to escape or be rescued as well as control fires and minimise damage to property.”


  1. Jeremy Braithwaite says:

    I live close to this block (I get a great view out of my bedroom window) and seeing it this morning with the news of Grenfell Tower on the TV below I wondered how safe the people would feel considering the block had been refurbished in 2004. Seeing this article was interesting and poignant, but for the sprinklers could this have happened here? It is both pleasing and concerning, pleasing because it shows that CHP had taken the time and money to put peoples safety first but concerning that this act was optional and that the owners of Grenfell had the "option" not to do this. Well done CHP and ECFRS, I think it is time the law was changed to make this compulsory.

    Added on 18 Jun 2017 at 10:50 AM

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