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Leicestershire Distribution Warehouse Sprinkler Actuation

16 March 2022


  • Fire Rescue Service; Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service (LFRS)
  • Date of Incident 16 March 2022
  • Time of call; 21:30
  • Location of incident; Magna Park, Leicestershire (Lutterworth)
  • Use of building; Warehouse
  • Type of incident; fire
  • Fixed firefighting system: Sprinkler System (Wet Pipe)
  • Water Supply, water storage tank
  • 2x sprinkler heads actuate




Images, credit LFRS


The Incident

  • LFRS have reported the following fire requiring the mobilisation of five appliances from Leicestershire and Warwickshire FRS.
  • The location of the fire was in the distribution warehouse involving the pallet racking system used to store a variety of goods.
  • The cause of the fire is under investigation; however, the seat of the fire was at low level spreading vertically to the pallets above due to the combustible material/fire loading.
  • The fire was not immediately contained/suppressed by the sprinkler system as in rack sprinkler protection was not installed, in rack sprinkler systems on activation release water into a targeted area to minimise damage, downtime for the facility.
  • This is advantageous as it ensures that fires that begin in the lower/middle areas of the rack can be extinguished before it consumes surrounding combustible material allowing further potential fire spread
  • The sprinkler system was located above the top layer of racking, resulting in a delay for the predetermined temperature to be reached allowing the sprinkler heads to actuate.
  • Two sprinkler heads actuated containing/suppressing the fire preventing further fire spread. The benefit of which allowed operational crews time to establish their operational tactical plan prior to committing crews to extinguish the fire using Breathing Apparatus and one hose reel jet
  • A forklift was used to remove the damaged pallets affected by the fire. No injuries were reported

Fire Data Warehouses

Fire data relating to primary fires attended by FRSs in the UK for Warehouses where sprinklers were present, operated for the ¹financial years 2018/19 to 2020/21 accounted for 59 fires of which 17 operated. The impact of the sprinkler system in controlling or extinguishing the fire is known for all 17 fires where the system operated, this data can be used to measure the performance reliability of the system.
Performance reliability measures the effectiveness of the system when it is activated and is defined where the sprinkler system contained/controlled, extinguished the fire.
  • From the 17 sprinkler activations.
  • 8 x fires were contained or controlled (47.5%)
  • 8 x fires were extinguished (47.5%)
  • 1x fire did not contain/control (6%)

This incident clearly identifies once again the benefits of installing sprinklers in warehouses re-enforced by the above-mentioned data.

The inclusion of a sprinkler system for property protection can
  • Prevent major financial and equipment losses,
  • Prevent a potential major fire, turning it into a minor incident
  • Prevent a business from going out of business
¹Source: FOI Requests for Incident Recording System Data relating to primary fires attended by FRSs in which sprinklers were present for England, Scotland, and Wales for the financial years 2018/19 to 2020/21


16 March 2022


Location (Town/City)