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Sprinkler system helps avert serious damage to hotel

Date15 March 2018

Four fire appliances from Newcastle, Byker and Gateshead Fire Stations attended a fire in the basement laundry room of the 11 storey Sandman Signature Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne at 20:38 hours on Wednesday 7th March 2018.

On arrival, Firefighters discovered a laundry dryer on fire in the basement of the hotel which had automatically activated the buildings sprinkler system. A single sprinkler head had supressed the fire and prevented further fire and smoke spreading through the building and its contents. This was the fourth sprinkler activation at a non-domestic premise in Tyne and Wear in the previous 12 months.

John Baines, Assistant Chief Fire Officer said: “Our first appliance arrived within 3 minutes of the emergency call, with a further three appliances arriving within the 5 minutes following. Our highly skilled crews worked quickly and effectively to fully extinguish the fire and clear the smoke from the affected area.”

“Together with our crews, I would also like to praise the hotel staff who acted swiftly and calmly to evacuate over 60 people to safety, whilst providing information on the sprinkler system and building layout to assist the crews in dealing with the incident. The sprinkler system worked as designed, with a single head actuating to supress the fire, minimising water damage and protecting the staff, guests and building. As a result hotel residents were allowed to re-enter the building in a relatively short time due to the effectiveness of the sprinkler system and actions of staff and firefighters.”

“Evidence produced by the National Fire Chiefs Council indicates that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions, demonstrating very high reliability. Furthermore, it is evident that when they do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions and are very effective. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service promote the fitting of sprinklers in new buildings as part of an effective fire safety solution and also retro-fitting of sprinklers in existing buildings, on a risk assessed basis. Quite simply sprinklers save lives, reduce injuries, improve firefighter safety and protect homes and businesses, which in turn supports the economy and protects the environment.”  

Mitch Gaglardi, owner of the Sandman Signature Hotel said: “Our staff worked admirably under pressure in conjunction with the Fire Service whom I would like to commend. Sandman Signature Hotels specify sprinkler systems in all of our properties for this exact scenario to ensure guest safety.”

“There is no doubt that having an automatic sprinkler system in our building stopped the fire from spreading and prevented potentially severe damage to the property and our business itself. I would encourage all businesses to install sprinklers to protect their business and staff, the general public and firefighters.”

Sprinklers save lives, reduce injuries, protect firefighters reduce the impact of fire on the environment and support UK economy by reducing the interruption to business.

TWFRS are supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s National Sprinkler Awareness Week from 13-16 March 2018 and will continue to work with partners to demonstrate the benefits, provide the evidence and advise political leaders, developers, designers and the public of the benefits of sprinklers and other Automatic Water Suppression Systems (AWSS). There is already clear evidence of these benefits shown in published national and international research.