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London Sub Basement Sauna Room fire contained, controlled by Sprinklers

4 December 2023 @ 6:28 pm - 7:37 pm

  • Date of incident; 4 December 2023
  • Tine of call;18:28
  • Time of stop;19:37
  • Location; Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia
  • Use of building; Residential/commercial Mixed use building,
  • Number of floors; 3 plus 2x basement levels
  • Location of fire; Sauna room, sub basement level
  • Automatic Fire Suppression System; Sprinklers
  • Fire Rescue Service; London Fire Brigade(LFB

LFB have reported the above-mentioned incident highlighting the benefits of sprinklers involving a sauna located on the second floor sub basement level.

 The premises

Residential development comprising of 3 separate buildings with landscaped gardens on the podium level with commercial premises located on the ground floor.

  • Block A: comprising ground and nine upper stories.
  • Block B: Ground and three upper floors.
  • Block C: Ground and three upper floors with basement (car park) and sub basement.
  • Providing in total 88 private apartments, 15 flats, four penthouses with private rooftop terraces.
  • 46 Residential parking spaces
  • Amenities include a gym, screening room, dining room, lounge and sauna.

The Incident

  • 4 pump fire requiring 25 firefighters from Euston, soho and Paddington fire stations.
  • On arrival operational crews established that there was a fire within the second sub level basement sauna room which had been contained, controlled by the activation of three sprinkler heads.
  • The fire was extinguished by crew using firefighting media including a main branch.
  • 50% of the sauna was damaged by fire, the fire is believed to have been accidental and caused by items left on a sauna
  • There were no reports of any injuries.
  • The incident was closed within 70 minutes, highlighting the benefits of sprinklers for business continuity.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The numbers of buildings in London with sprinklers systems is still very low and we would like to see this increase. Automatic Fire Suppression Systems, like sprinklers, alongside other fire safety measures can greatly reduce the impact of fires on people, property, homes and communities.

“Sprinklers are not a luxury – they save lives and also reduce risk to the firefighters who have to tackle the fires.”

  • This incident clearly identifies the benefits of sprinklers involving basement fires for operational firefighters which can be a high risk activity, physically demanding caused by extreme temperatures.
  • Sprinkler activation reduces heat transfer, toxic gases, smoke, and flashover allowing tenable conditions within the room of origin, increasing escape time and keeps the fire contained, controlled or in some cases extinguished before the arrival of the Fire Rescue Service

How sauna fires can lead to multi million pound loss

The above mentioned incident clearly identifies the benefits of providing sprinkler protection for a sauna fire which was dealt with in a controlled manor by LFB with the incident closed within 70 minutes.

When you compare this incident to a similar incident reported from Paul Redington, from Zurich’s property major loss team involving a commercial leisure centre in the south of England, the outcome was so munch different with a devastating outcome.

A cleaning operative inadvertently left a towel on top of a live heater at the end of a shift. A fire then developed, eventually spreading to the rest of the building. The premises was a total loss, with the initial claim put at over £30 million – half of which was business interruption.

If sprinklers had been fitted the outcome could have been so different!!!!!!!!!!

Saunas pose a relatively high fire risk, If not properly managed and maintained due to the combination of timber construction, combustible insulation and fire risks from electrical hazards, accidential ignition where towels and other objects are placed on the heater.

Fire protection for a suna, consideration should be given to providing an Automatic Fire Suppression System where the fire risk assessment indicates this would be a valid control measure as part of a package of fire safety measures. Further details on the management of saunas can be found in the RISC Authority document RC50 Fire Safety in the construction and use of saunas.


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




4 December 2023
6:28 pm - 7:37 pm


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