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Elephant & Castle Sprinkler Activation
4 November 2021
- Date of incident: 4 November 2021
- Time of Call: 10:56
- Cause of fire: Unsafe disposal of smoking materials
- Occupancy: 32 Storey residential block of flats
- Location of fire: 18 floor, balcony
- Sprinkler system: Wet pipe, water supply: – suction tank and pump
- 1 x residential head activated
London Fire Brigade have reported the above-mentioned incident involving the attendance of eight fire engines and 6o firefighters extinguishing the fire using 3 jets via wet rising main, preventing external fire spread from the balcony to the residential dwelling.
Following commencement of firefighting operations, products of combustion entered the four -roomed flat activating the sprinkler head, identifying the clear benefits of sprinklers for firefighters preventing flashover, fire spread and providing a further layer of safety from fire during firefighting operations.
The benefits of sprinklers involving a previous balcony fire was clearly demonstrated in the LFB report to raise awareness in the residential sector of the beneficial/effectiveness impact that incorporating Automatic Fire Suppression Systems can have in a multi-point residential high-rise fire. Where in the space of 19 minutes from time of call, 5 apartments were exposed to fire and heat activating 12 sprinkler heads
This incident identifies the importance of identifying, replacing combustible materials that are combustible such as timber, composite balcony decking. Guidance is now available from the government for owners of residential buildings advising that “the removal and replacement of any combustible material used in balcony construction is the clearest way to prevent external fire spread from balconies”
The dangers of balcony fires, external fire spread were identified in the BRE publication “Fire Safety Issues with balconies that identified several incidents of balcony fires
- BAFSA Press release West Hampstead balcony fire
- London Fire Brigade, press release
- Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors
- BRE 2016 report, “Fire Safety issues with balconies”