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Elgin Academy Sprinkler Activation

16 May 2022

  • Fire Rescue Service: Scottish Fire Rescue Service (SFRS)
  • Incident: Fire
  • When: 16 May 2022
  • Time of call: 09:07
  • Location: Elgin
  • OccupancyElgin Academy
  • Automatic fire suppression System: Fire Sprinklers

 SFRS have reported the following incident.


Interrogating Sprinkler Saves.co.uk records this is the third reported school fire involving a malicious act involving the school toilets located in Scotland in the space of 4 months.

21 February 2022, Crieff High School

  • Ignition source , toilet paper/fixed plastic toilet roll dispenser
  • 1x sprinkler head actuated
  • Extinguished the fire

25 April 2022, Elgin High School

  • Ignition source , toilet paper/alcohol gel
  • 1x sprinkler head actuated
  • Contained/controlled the fire

16 May 2022 Elgin Academy

    • Ignition source , toilet paper/alcohol gel
    • 1x sprinkler head actuated
    • Extinguished the fire
  • Since 2010 all new built Scottish schools are required to have automatic fire sprinklers fitted, protecting both the occupants and the building in line with Scottish Building Standards for non-domestic buildings.
  • The benefits of this legislation clearly demonstrated for the above-mentioned incidents, on each occasion the fire was contained to the compartment of origin, preventing a minor inconvenience escalating into a major fire.
  • This is not the case for England, current guidance when first released in 2007, acknowledged the important role of sprinklers and stated that “all new schools should have fire sprinklers installed except in a few low-risk schools”.
  • Unfortunately, it is possible for designers and developers to circumvent the improvement in areas such as automatic fire suppression systems by using other building design guidance. The outcome schools not installed with fire sprinklers.


Elgin Academy is a three-storey school accommodating up to 1050 pupils which moved into this new premises in April 2012. The school is a widely used community facility with sport facilities, performance facilities open to the public.

The Incident 

  • One fire rescue appliance was mobilised to a fire involving the school toilet cubicles on the first floor
  • Upon entry, it was identified the sprinkler system had extinguished the fire with no further firefighting media required
  • Minimal fire and smoke damage limited to the fully enclosed WC toilet
  • Toilet paper/alcohol gel material ignited first

Automatic Fire Sprinkler System

  • Wet pipe System
  • Actuation, 1x concealed fire sprinkler head

The outcome of this fire could have been so much different if this incident had been in England.

When you compare this to the three major school fires in Derbyshire that were all severely damaged by fire in May/October 2020, where sprinklers were not fitted

  • St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, in Darley Abbey, 3 October 2020
  • Ravensdale Infant School, 5 October 2020
  • Harrington Junior school fire 28 May 2020

Credit image Derbyshire Fire Rescue Service (DFRS), Ravensdale Infant School

These fires have resulted in the agreement of a statement of intent, between DFRS, Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council, surrounding sprinklers in new-build schools and those undergoing renovation, which should be applauded.




16 May 2022


Location (Town/City)
Type of Sprinkler Installation
Wet Pipe