On 12th May at 2046 a Triangle sprinkler system successfully actuated during a fire in a housing association home in Essex. Triangle installed and commissioned the sprinkler system in March 2011 in accordance with BS 9251.
Following initial reports that the fire sprinkler system may not have performed correctly Triangle had a meeting on site with the Fire Officers, Housing Association Officials and loss adjuster to obtain the facts regarding the incident, which are as follows:
- This property is one of three terraced properties that have fire sprinkler systems installed by Triangle Fire Systems, these were mains fed and the system valve group housed in a kitchen cupboard.
- The fire is still under investigation but it appears that it was started by children with a lighter. The source of the fire was the bedding and mattress of the lower bunk in a bedroom (Creating a shielded fire)
- An adult occupier was made aware of the fire and attempted to extinguish the fire with saucepans of water.
- It appears that the fourth saucepan of water had just about extinguished the fire when the fire had generated enough heat to actuate the single sprinkler head in that room.
- Any reports of 3 to 4 heads actuating are nonsense. It has been confirmed by physical inspection that all the cover plates on all the sprinklers in the house were intact.
- On arrival the fire and rescue service did not undertake any fire suppression activity as the fire had been extinguished.
- More water damage that could be reasonably expected in such a fire appears to have been the result of no one knowing how to operate the stop valve. At a meeting with the housing association today, immediate action was taken to brief all occupiers of sprinklered properties on how this can be done when it is clear that a fire has been extinguished.
In summary this is just another example of a Triangle Fire Systems BS9251 system actuating on demand as a result of a domestic fire, despite the fire being shielded by the upper bunk. The fact that the fire had virtually been extinguished as the head actuated is unfortunate but in different circumstances could have saved lives.