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.”