Firefighters in Stoke-on-Trent say a sprinkler system averted a major disaster following a fire in a flat that is part of a retirement complex.
They have commended the city council and Your Housing Group, which owns the complex, for deciding to install the fire safety system when the complex was built.
The sprinkler system quickly contained the blaze before putting it out early on 16 March, 2017.
Fire detected almost immediately
According to reports, heat from the fire automatically activated the sprinkler system within moments of the fire breaking out.
Staff at the Oak Priory complex, in Abbey Hulton, near Stoke-on-Trent, were alerted when the sprinkler system and smoke detectors in the flat were activated. They were able to act quickly to escort the elderly male occupant to safety.
Fire service praises vital role of sprinkler system
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, which says an investigation into the cause of the fire has determined it was started accidentally, says the incident highlights the vital role sprinkler systems play in saving lives.
Speaking to The Sentinel newspaper, fire engineer Stuart Ruckledge said sprinkler systems don’t just save lives – they minimise damage.
The sprinkler system used at Oak Priory ensured a fire in a single flat did not spread to other parts of the complex, reducing the severity and impact of the blaze.
Call for more housing providers to install sprinkler systems
Mr Ruckledge pointed out the fire could have been “severe” with the potential to cause serious injury. However, because of the sprinkler system, the occupant of the flat was unharmed and the fire did not spread.
He said the incident highlighted how well sprinkler systems work and suggested more housing associations should invest in them. As well as protecting occupants and property, the systems also help reduce risks to firefighters, he said.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council worked with Your Housing Group during the construction stage of the complex when it was agreed a state-of-the-art sprinkler system should be installed.
A council spokesman acknowledged the fire had been contained “due to the building’s excellent safety features”.