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London, St Mark’s Square Bromley Sprinkler Activation

3 July 2022 @ 11:58 am


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  • Fire & Rescue Service; London Fire Brigade (LFB)
  • Date of incident: 03/07/2022
  • Time of Call 11:58
  • Premise type: Purpose built flats, 10 or more storeys
  • Type of Incident: Fire
  • Location of Fire; External balcony permanently open to the outside
  • Automatic Fire Suppression System; Sprinklers

LFB have reported the above-mentioned fire involving a purpose-built block of flats of 19 Storeys located in the centre of Bromley, South London.


  • The St Marks development opened in 2019 which included a new public plaza, nine-screen multiplex cinema, café and restaurants and a 130-bed hotel.
  • Focal point of the development included a 19-storey purpose-built block of flats consisting of 200 apartments with the luxury apartments provided with external balconies.
  • Luxury apartments with external open balcony, serves two apartments with privacy provided between the two apartments by the provision of a glass balustrade
  • Balconies constructed of timber cladding construction.
  • Residential sprinkler system coverage, residential apartments


  • LFB control centre received 95 calls
  • 15 fire pumping appliances, 1 x 64m turntable ladder were mobilised from fire stations across south London, including Bromley, Beckenham, Addington, and Woodside.
  • The seat of the fire was established to be on the external balcony of a five roomed apartment on the 15 storey. Spreading horizontally along the balcony of the adjacent apartment
  • The intensity of the fire resulted in the glazing for both apartments adjacent to the balcony failing, allowing internal fire to spread within the two apartments
  • The fire proceeded to spread vertically to the slopping roof involving the solar panels
  • Further fire damage sustained to two further apartments located on the 16/17 floors, roofing.
  • The cause of the fire is under investigation

Actuation Residential Concealed Sprinkler Heads

  • 5 Sprinkler heads actuated
  • 3 sprinkler heads actuated within the apartment located immediately adjacent to the seat of the fire on the external balcony with 2 additional sprinkler heads actuating in the adjacent apartment

Fire Damage, 15 Floor

  • One five roomed apartment, 75% damaged by fire with a further apartment sustaining 5% damage by fire.
  • The enclosed balcony area decking/timber façade severely damaged by fire
  • Solar panels located on the roof, 100% damaged by fire
  • Extensive fire damage to the sloping roof between the 15/16 floor

Benefits of the Residential Sprinkler System

  • Internal fire spread within the two apartments contained/controlled, preventing further fire spread to the common ways
  • Rapidly reducing the rate of production of heat and smoke
  • Integrity of the means of escape, maintained
  • Two compartment fires, flash over prevented
  • Allowing firefighters in carrying out search and rescue operations by limiting fire development, which significantly reduces the risks to firefighters.

Firefighting Media Used

  • 5 x Jets
  • 1 x 64m Turntable Ladder
  • Wet rising main

 Sprinkler Protection for External Balconies

  • This will not be the last fire involving balconies is there a case for external balconies to be sprinkler protected?
  • BS9251 refers to the fact that Sprinkler protection should be provided in all parts of the premises, however, sprinkler protection may be omitted from external balconies permanently open to the outside unless it is required by a fire strategy or risk assessment.


This incident clearly demonstrates.

  • The danger of balcony fires where combustible materials have been used in the balcony or external wall system allowing external fire to spread across the façade.
  • The benefits of installing a residential sprinkler system for life safety purposes for a high-rise residential development.

 West Hampstead Balcony Fire Case Study

  • One of the most high-profile sprinkler saves in London occurred in the Balcony Fire at West Hampstead on 3 July 2018 involving a purpose-built block of flats of 12 floors. In the space of 19 minutes from the actuation of the first fire sprinkler head, 5 apartments were exposed to fire and heat activating 12 fire sprinkler heads which is unprecedented in a residential fire.
  • LFB commenced investigations to the incident commissioning the case study report to raise awareness in the residential sector of the beneficial/effectiveness impact that incorporating Automatic Fire Suppression Systems can have in a multipoint residential high-rise fire




3 July 2022
11:58 am