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London refuse store fire backs up findings contained within the BAFSA Incident data report that sprinklers do extinguish/contain refuse store fires.

January 16 @ 6:11 pm - 7:11 pm

  • Date of incident; 16 January 2024
  • Tine of call;18:11
  • Location; Barking & Dagenham
  • Use of building; Purpose Built Flats/Maisonettes – 10 or more storeys
  • Location of fire; Refuse/Store Room
  • Automatic Fire Suppression System; Sprinklers
  • Fire Rescue Service; London Fire Brigade(LFB

LFB have reported the above-mentioned incident, identifying the benefits of installing fire  sprinkler systems within high-rise residential block waste bin chute rooms following a fire involving smoking materials. On arrival operational crews identified that the fire had been extinguished by the activation of one sprinkler head containing the to the room of origin which required crews only to dampen down and turn over the seat of the fire.

Hats off to Barking & Dagnham who made the decision in 2015/16 to install fire sprinkler systems within all their 22 high-rise blocks waste bin chute rooms.

Danger of refuse chute/bin store fires.

These types of fires can have a dramatic effect on the safety of the residents, specifically where refuse chutes and access hatches can sometimes be found directly opening onto protected corridors, lobbies, and stairs, so providing the potential for the spread of fire and smoke to the common escape routes.

It is therefore best practice in these situations.

  1. Automatic fire-resisting shutter should be fitted at the base of the refuse chute to restrict the spread of fire and smoke from a fire in the bin room. The shutter should, as a minimum, be operated on a fixed temperature fusible link.
  2. Bespoke sprinkler system, further protection can be provided by the installation of a sprinkler system located over the bins, with either frangible bulb or fusible link sprinkler heads, or open sprinkler heads with water discharge controlled by smoke detectors.

Analysis of compound primary fire data

Where sprinklers were reported and having an impact for the period of 2018/2019 to 2020/21, refuse stores accounted for the highest number of incidents with 141outside the flat.

From the 141 sprinkler activations outside the flats, refuse fires accounted for the highest number of incidents with 123. In refuse store fires sprinklers extinguished 53 (43%) incidents with a further 63 (51%) incidents being contained or controlled.



What cannot be defined by the data is whether the installation of sprinklers within buildings is limited to these refuse stores alone or extended to the occupied flat areas.

Importance of Fire Safety Management

It is paramount that those designated fire safety managers who have responsibility for fire safety within a building ensure that all fire protection measures in a building can function effectively in the event of a fire including.

  • Where the sprinkler alarm functionality is integrated into the premises emergency plan, the cause and effect should be designed to allow the appropriate emergency response allowing the attendance of the FRS. The actuation of a sprinkler head should be taken as a confirmed fire.
  • Refuse fusible-link automatic fire resisting shutters.

Management is key ensuring the premises fire safety systems are operable in the event of a fire, reinforced in an open letter from the LFB in 2020, forwarded to those responsible for fire specifically aimed at shopping centres, identifying the importance of maintaining fire safety systems. This principle applies to all buildings where fixed installations are installed


If you want to make a difference working in the fire sector, we need your assistance……

In order to make sprinklers the norm and not the exception – we need the evidence. Encouraging the FRS to promote, collate, report sprinkler activations to Sprinkler Saves UK will help to create a central and comprehensive record of fire incidents where sprinklers played their role in containing/controlling or extinguishing the fire.

If you hear of a save report it using this link



January 16
6:11 pm - 7:11 pm


Location (Town/City)
Type of Sprinkler Installation
wet pipe