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Newport High Rise Residential Bin Store Fire

7 August 2021 @ 8:30 am - 9:00 am

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service (SWFRS) were mobilised to a fire following the activation of the sprinkler system involving a refuse bin located on the ground floor of  a 11 storey residential accommodation block 

Lela Pirouet, fire safety officer for Newport City Homes, informed the South Wales Argus  “Our sprinkler system did its job of being activated and extinguishing the fire before it could spread. There is a sprinkler unit in the bin area, and it was set off by the heat and smoke going up the chute.

“Sprinklers save lives, and we are proud to have started a programme to fit these devices in 2,500 flats and communal areas over the next three years. ”

“We believe it was caused by a discarded lit cigarette and that this incident could have been avoided if someone had been more careful.”

“There are 82 flats in Hillview. When the alarm went off residents from all, except for the two flats who were close to the smoke, stayed in their homes and followed the fire safety arrangements for this building. ”

“I would like to thank the residents for their support during this incident.”

This was the second sprinkler save at Hillview involving the residential bin store in two years, the previous fire took place in August 2019 which is believed to of been caused by another discarded lit cigarette

Business continuity, on both occasions the  alarm directly linked to the sprinkler save allowed the appropriate immeditae emergency response. The outcome of which allowed SWFRS to be immediately mobilised to the incident.
Newport City Homes have to be applauded for their current sprinkler project ensuring that their most vulnerable residents are protected from fire following a  further commitment to install automatic sprinkler systems in over 2000 of their properties.

Dangers of bin store fires:- It should be noted that the outcome of a communal bin store fire 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. The provision of sprinklers should always be considered where access hatches open into protected stairways or lobbies containing more than two flat entrance doors

Housing providers across the country are recognising the danger of these type of fires, London Borough Barking & Dagenham for example reduced  the risk by the retrofitting of  sprinklers into all their high rise residential block bin stores, 22 in total. Following match funding received from the London Fire Brigade (£84,250) to help fund this initiative.

Further information regarding general sprinkler systems can be found in BAFSA publication BIF 06A General Sprinklers Questions

Further Links


Newport City Homes

South Wales Argus 


7 August 2021
8:30 am - 9:00 am
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