Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Sprinkler stops flat fire

A potentially devastating kitchen fire was stopped in its tracks thanks to a sprinkler system fitted through the Service’s matched funding scheme launched by ECFRS in 2014.

When a chip pan caught light on the hob of a flat on the 13th floor of the Parkside Court tower block just after 8pm on Sunday March 27 the sprinkler system activated dousing the flames and containing the fire to the kitchen where it started, preventing the blaze from growing and spreading.

Parkside Court was the first building in the county to benefit from a matched funding scheme which saw the Service team up with block owners CHP to ensure that  sprinkler suppression system were fitted in all 53 flats, and communal areas, in the 15 storey block in Melbourne Avenue, Chelmsford,

Under the scheme Essex County Fire and Rescue Service contributed £50,000 towards the cost of installing the sprinkler suppression system in May 2014. CHP  paid the remaining £120,000.

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 and even have risked lives but because the sprinkler activated it was contained to the kitchen.

“In this case the sprinkler 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.

“The sprinklers are unobtrusive and you are more likely to win the lottery than an accidental sprinkler actuation.”

Graham Thomson, CHP Surveying and Contracts manager, said: “We are pleased that the sprinkler system worked as it should and prevented the spread of, what was originally a minor incident, from becoming a major problem.

“The safety of our residents is paramount to us which is why we worked closely with Essex Fire and Rescue Services to install the sprinkler system. At CHP 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.”

For more information about sprinklers and the match funding scheme click the link here: 

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