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Early in the morning of January 3rd 2017 fire crews from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a serious fire at the Avenue Primary School in Warminster, Wiltshire. On arrival crews found a well-developed fire within a temporary classroom block.
Fire crews from Warminster attended supported by fire engines from Westbury and Frome. Sadly, the fire damage was extensive but crews were able to stop the spread of fire to the nearby main school buildings. The fire service was called at 0319 hours and remained on site for six hours damping down and investigating the scene of the fire. The school was closed for the day and alternative arrangements will now need to be made for 60 students following the Christmas break.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have campaigned for schools to be fitted with sprinklers. Chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Rebecca Knox, said: "Fires in schools are really disruptive to children’s education, they are very distressing for them, their teachers and their families due to the uncertainty that arises as a result. School closures, longer travelling times, disruption of classes and after school activities, inadequate facilities and of course the potential for key classwork to be destroyed. Sprinklers can really help avoid this, against the societal costs of loss of jobs, buildings and cost of replacement when compared to a sprinkler system which has roughly the same costs as carpeting a school. Nationally over 635 fires occur in schools each year in the UK, more than one a day".
Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: “In Dorset and Wiltshire, we know only too well how devastating school fires can be and how difficult they can be to deal with, not only for firefighters but also short and long term for the children, teachers and their families. Sprinklers within a school building limit the spread and growth of fire and allow for quick evacuation of children and staff. Our Fire Safety team will now be working with the school to offer advice and ensure pupils and buildings are safe from fire.
At 1711 on Saturday 31st December 2016, Hampshire FRS received a call to a fire at the West Quay shopping centre in Southampton.
The fire involved a refrigeration unit on the ground floor of the 3 storey M&S store and was reported to have started in electrical insulation materials. The shop comprises of food and clothing retail sales and a coffee shop totalling approx 3000m².
Hampshire FRS deployed 4 BA wearers with main jets due to the size of the store but their report states that 'the store's sprinklers held the fire at source and prevented further escalation. Damage from direct burning and heat was limited to the item which ignited and was estimated at a total of 3m² . Apart from smoke spreading to stock in the neighbouring coffee shop there was no serious damage and losses were reported at about 3,000 pounds'.
Just one pendant sprinkler head on the tank and pump system activated to control the fire and business interruption was described as minimal.
Malcolm Reade of AD Sprinklers (a BAFSA member) reports that on the evening of Wednesday 28th December a fire occurred in a dryer at an industrial laundry in Ashton under Lyne, Manchester.
The fire was severe enough to activate one upright sprinkler head on the sprinkler system which was dry pipe at this location. This controlled the fire until the arrival of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
On the evening of 21st December 2016 a fire occurred upon ignition of a light on the hallway ceiling in a flat at Nicolas Kings Homes, St Albans
2 heads activated to control/extinguish the fire and firefighters from St Albans (Green Watch) attended to ensure extinguishment and isolate the supply.
No injuries nor serious damage is reported.
Thousands of people were evacuated from Bristol's biggest shopping during the busiest weekend of the year due to a blaze in a back store room of Cribbs Causeway on 18th December
The fire broke out at around 1618hrs but the fire was extinguished by the store's sprinklers before firefighters arrived.
Thousands of shoppers making a last dash for their Christmas presents were then asked to leave immediately.
Crews attended from Patchway and the cause of the blaze will now be investigated.