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Refuse /Chute Bin Activation Birmingham

25 November 2022

  • Fire Rescue Service; West Midlands Fire Rescue Service (WMFRS)
  • Incident; Refuse, chute bin store fire
  • When; 25 November 2022
  • Where, Birmingham
  • Time of incident: 14:30
  • Use of premises; Purpose built residential block of flats containing 116 flats
  • Height of building: 10 or more stories
  • Fixed installation; Automatic fire suppression system (AFSS)

Triangle fire systems have reported the above- mentioned incident resulting in the activation of the premises sprinkler system


  • As part of a 3-year programme, Birmingham Council approved the installation of retrofitting residential sprinkler systems in all their high-rise residential block of flats in 2017 which included the removal of combustible material from the façade where it was identified by laboratories, and the replacement of window infill panels with A2 fire rated products.
  • Prior to this programme, Birmingham council completed a sprinklers programme to install sprinklers in all the communal bin areas of their residential tower block property portfolio
  • This approach implemented by Birmingham city council should be applauded, the outcome of which will provide a further layer of safety from fire for both their residents, firefighters.

Residential Sprinkler System

  • BS9251:2014
  • Sprinkler head VK486
  • Dedicated duplicate pumps with generator back up and 60-minute tank

The Incident

It is reported that the fire was in the premises refuse chute, lit refuse dropped down the chute to the refuse store below activating the premises suppression system extinguishing the fire with no injuries reported, interrogating sprinkler saves uk data base this is the second incident within 6 months.

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.  To achieve this, they should be maintained periodically in accordance with the relevant standards/codes, to ensure they are always operational and available.

This should include regular inspections of all refuse automatic fire resisting shutters and where the sprinkler alarm functionality is integrated into the protected premises initiates the appropriate emergency procedures.

Incident Recording System Compound Fire Data

Interrogating fire data for the financial year 2021/22 West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service attended 39 fires involving refuse stores, on first appearances this may look a small nothing fire,but did you know that the BAFSA Incident Data report No 2 on fire incidents in Great Britain where sprinklers were reported for the period of 2018/19 to 2020/21



  • Refuse stores account for the highest number of incidents where sprinklers are recorded as being present in fire incidents in purpose-built blocks of flats with 145 incidents
  • Dangers of bin store firescan 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.



25 November 2022


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