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Student Halls of Residence Kitchen Sprinkler Activation Essex

7 December 2023

  • Incident; Chip Pan Fire
  • When; 7 December 2023
  • Where, University of Essex
  • Use of premises; Halls of residence
  • Location of incident: Communal Kitchen
  • Fixed installation; Automatic fire suppression system (AFSS)

Triangle fire have reported the above-mentioned incident involving a 5th floor communal kitchen fire within a 6 storey tall building caused by a hot oil spillage from a chip pan fire within a student hall of residence. The fire was extinguished by the actuation of one concealed sprinkler head contained to the room of origin with no injuries reported. Upon activation, the onsite security staff implemented the premises emergency plan in accordance with the premises fire strategy.

Sprinkler Specification

  • Installed to BS9251:2014
  • Water supply Shared booster Cold water supply
  • Shared pump(s)s&tanks(s)
  • Sprinkler heads RD208

Student Halls of Residence are undoubtedly a challenging environment from a fire safety perspective with their own individual challenges. The student’s lifestyle is typically associated with a reduced level of caution when it comes to appreciating risk. The dangers of cooking related fires were reinforced from Home office fire statistics, 66% of the 160 plus fires attended by fire rescue services at Student Halls of Residence in 2019/20 were started by cooking appliances

This incident clearly identifies the benefits of sprinklers involving chip pan fires, this is the seventh  incident reported to Sprinklersaves.co.uk putting the myth to bed that residential sprinklers as an extinguishing media should not be used on fires involving chip pans. On each occasion the fire was extinguished, contained/contained.

BAFSA have released a comprehensive video that demonstrates the clear benefits of sprinklers involving chip pan fires, click here to open.  Fire statistical data collated from incidents attended by fire and rescue service involving dwellings for the financial year 2019/20 confirmed that 1494 incidents took place involving chip pan fires

It should be remembered the installation of a life safety AFSS is to reduce the rate of heat and smoke, allowing more time for the occupants to escape to safety or be rescued.

The danger of student accommodation fires cannot be underestimated as this was clearly demonstrated following the fire in Bolton involving the premises known as the ‘Cube’ November 2019. The speed with which the fire took hold and the devastating impact it had on the building was shocking. The Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service (GMFRS) press release states that due to the full and immediate evacuation of the premises many lives were saved.

Full details on the incident are contained in the GMFRS Cube Incident Report, it should be noted sprinklers were not fitted.



7 December 2023