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The boss of a medical firm today praised a sprinkler system which saved his business from ruin after an electrical fire.
The depot at Congleton-based Reliance Medical Limited, which manufactures products such as dressings and first aid kits, was ablaze in the early hours of the morning.
But mercifully, the sprinkler alarm kicked in. Without it, the firm would have lost an estimated £2 million in stock and the entire building. But it has instead just suffered just smoke and water damaged stock, worth £500,000.
The owner of the site was alerted to the inferno at around 3am on Thursday and firefighters had in put it out by 0730hrs
A fire investigation is being carried out by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and initial thoughts are that the cause is electrical.
Andy Pear, managing director of Reliance Medical Limited, said: “If it was not for the sprinkler system, and the speedy and professional response of Cheshire Fire and Rescue, this would have been a disaster.
“I was called at 0300hrs by one of my key holders, who had been alerted by the alarm company and seen flames piling out of the roof.
“Ten fire engines attended to put the fire out. I had never seen them at work before, but I was so impressed by how professional they were."
Andy is relieved he has had a lucky escape from losing everything and will be able to be up and running again next week.
“It is an unwanted problem, but is nothing we cannot deal with and thankfully has not been a disaster," he added. "We will be able to be open again from Monday and that is the real story that we have been saved by the sprinklers."
The fire service is urging businesses to have sprinklers installed due to how well they contain the flames.
Simon Gibbins, head of protection at Cheshire Fire and Rescue, said: “This building contained a huge amount of stock, with the company employing some 50 people. Thankfully, a sprinkler system contained the fire to one area which, although some stock was damaged, meant the majority of stock and the building were saved and will be back in operation within just a couple of days.
“Companies very rarely recover from a fire such as this, but the sprinkler system did its job and minimised the impact on the rest of the building, containing the flames to one area.
“Sprinklers work to suppress the flames and, although there was damage, the rest of the building escaped this fire. We would urge all business across the county to fit sprinklers in order to protect their business, their staff, customers and our firefighters. "
Thank you to BAFSA member, B&C Fire Engineering, for bringing this to our attention.
Overnight on 11th February 2017 Greater Manchester FRS attended a fire in an extensive old multi-occupancy mill complex just outside the city centre. At its, peak over firefghters attended the blaze in the six storey building, known as the Rogue Artists' Studio.
Fortunately it was sprinklered and the fire only affected a small section, being contained and extinguished within a couple of hours.
Officers who attended have report that without the sprinkler system it is likely that the whole mill would have been lost.
At just after 2200hrs on 31st January a fire occurred within a concrete bunker with sheet metal covering at a 4000m² material recycling centre in Shotton on Deeside. North Wales F&RS deployed 6 Pumps, one Aerial appliance and a Command unit.
Waste materials form the recycling process discharged into a waste bunker where a small fire started. This fire grew and spread to the discharge point of the over head conveyors which is when six sprinkler heads on the tank and pump fed sprinkler system operated above the conveyors and extinguished the fire on upper conveyor. They also contained the fire to lower conveyors where most of the damage was done.
Due to access issues on the lower conveyors the crews were engaged in damping down for some time whilst in Breathing Apparatus had to be deployed due to the rubber belt conveyors being involved in fire. The fire is reported to have been under control in 1hour 37 minutes.
Whilst the building held several hundreds of tons of waste ready to be sorted and recycled there was no fire spread to this materials due the sprinkler activation combined with containment by the Fire & Rescue Service.
The plant was up to 75% production by the following day while there was no disruption to the local community and none of the eight persons working at the site were reported injured.
We have received reports of two Sprinkler Saves in two days.
2nd February - Sprinkler Save : factory, Scunthorpe
Humberside Fire & Rescue Service say that a machine blaze at a Scunthorpe factory was believed to be caused by "accidental ignition".
The incident happened at the International Automotive Components factory unit on Park Farm Road on the Foxhills Industrial Estate and five crews respondeds hortly before 2255hrs.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said the fire involved a plastic moulding machine inside a building 150 metres by 300 metres.
A spokesman for the fire service said: "Three engines were sent from Scunthorpe, one from Winterton and one from Epworth. There were two hose reels and four firefighters with breathing apparatus and a thermal imagining camera to identify the source of the fire.
"The sprinkler system did activate which is great. We encourage all industries to have a sprinkler system to confine the fire to its source."
4th February - Sprinkler Save : retail, Gloucester
Fire crews were called to a fire at the Asda Superstore, Bruton Way, Gloucester. It was a deliberate fire started in the clothing department; CCTV and online media shows how quickly the fire developed.
The fire was suppressed by the sprinkler system that activated only in the area of the fire. Two breathing apparatus wearers were committed to the fire and dealt with it very quickly due to the suppression effect of the sprinklers. Positive pressure ventilation fans were then used for post-fire smoke clearance.
The sprinkler system aided early firefighting intervention and rapid location of the fire.
"Without the sprinkler containment, rapid fire spread and fire loading would have resulted in a major fire"
At 0754 on Saturday 28th January 2017 a fire occurred at a ground floor food outlet in Savoy Centre, 140 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow .
The building, measuring 60m x40m, is a category B listed former 5 storey warehouse of steel framed construction with 'Celotex' lining, concrete walls and ceiling. It was redeveloped in about 1975 to form an open plan indoor shopping centre/market containing numerous stalls, with a pedestrian precinct linking Sauchiehall Street to Renfrew Street
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service mobilised three pumps and an aerial appliance to the incident but on arrival it was found that 1 sprinkler head on the town's mains fed system had activated and extinguished the fire. Crews were then engaged in 'salvage' operations utilising the brigade's salvage unit.
Scottish FRS report that though the building was not open to the public at the time and 30 occupants escape without injury.
They were unable to quantify value of property and jobs saved, however due to the fire loading and close proximity of other units, had the sprinklers not been fitted, the potential for fire/smoke spread would have be high, resulting in disorientation to firefighters due to complex layout.