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Wandsworth Recycling Plant Sprinkler Activation

11 May 2023 @ 12:46 am - 3:42 pm

  • Fire Recue Service; London Fire Brigade (LFB)
  • Incident; Recycling Plant Fire
  • When; 11/05/2023
  • Time of call; 00:46
  • Stop message; 03:32
  • Where, Wandsworth, London
  • Type of Premises; Recycling Plant
  • Automatic fire suppression System

LFB have reported the above-mentioned incident resulting in the activation of the premises commercial sprinkler system. The premises is responsible for the management of waste delivered to it by local councils within London.


  • At 00:46, LFB mobilised fire appliances from Wandsworth, Battersea, Fulham, Chelsea, and tooting fire stations to a fire at a recycling plant
  • On arrival operational crews identified 100 tonnes of mixed household recycling alight located within a waste disposal site
  • The premises AFSS actuated containing, controlling the fire.
  • Total fire damage up to 51-100 sqm
  • Firefighting media Main branch/jet
  • The cause of the fire is being treated as accidental with the most likely cause the failure of a lithium-ion battery.

A spokesman for LFB said.

Lithium batteries should not be placed in the same bins as your regular rubbish or recycling. If they overheat, they may cause it to catch fire. Instead, check your local authority’s website for the safest way to dispose of lithium batteries in your area.

“Lithium batteries store a significant amount of energy in a very small space and are much more powerful compared to other types of batteries. If that energy is released in an uncontrolled way, then a fire or explosion may result. 

“Batteries can present a fire risk if they’re overcharged, short circuited, submerged in water or damaged, so it’s really important to protect them against being crushed and dispose of them safely.”

Dangers, implications of waste fires

Often difficult to extinguish, requiring multiple fire rescue services resources for long periods of time. The impact of these fires may be short term or long-term including.

  • Public health impacts on responders and communities
  • The public being evacuated or sheltering in place.
  • Environmental impacts
  • Pollution of surface and groundwater
  • Road closures
  • High demand on fire and rescue services and other agency resources
  • Large-scale financial losses and disruption

Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS)

  • The benefits of suppression containing/controlling these fires should not be under-estimated.
  • Reducing the volume of fire water run-off which in the quantities likely from FRS innervation is an environmental threat which the Environment agency takes seriously sprinkler waste fires

 Business Continuity

  • The benefits of suppression were clearly demonstrated following a similar incident involving a Biffa Waste Plant fire.
  • Promoted in a video released by Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service/Biffa supporting the benefits of suppression saving the entire facility.




11 May 2023
12:46 am - 3:42 pm


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