Fire in Regent Court stopped by Sprinkler System  

On 20th February, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) firefighters from Gateshead and Newcastle Central Community Fire Stations were called out to a fire in a ground floor flat at Regent Court, a 10-storey purpose built block of flats in Gateshead.  On arrival firefighters discovered that a fire in the kitchen had been extinguished by a wall mounted sprinkler head. As well as protecting the occupier from the effects of fire, the sprinkler also prevented further fire damage to the property.

The firefighters rescued the occupier who was treated at the scene by paramedics.

TWFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACO) John Baines said:

“This is another great example of sprinklers saving lives and supporting our firefighters to manage a potentially critical incident.

Our first appliances arrived within 4 minutes of the emergency call, with a further two appliances arriving shortly after.  The sprinkler system worked as designed, with a single head supressing the fire, which undoubtedly protected the occupier and minimised their injuries. It also stopped the fire from spreading. It’s safe to say that sprinklers do save lives.”

Sprinklers, as part of an effective fire safety strategy, offer the best protection to those who need it most; these can include children, older and disabled people and those who have a dependency. Age, infirmity, disability or a dependency mean some people cannot escape their homes even if they have working smoke alarms to give them early warning. Sprinklers control a fire immediately when it breaks out, affording vulnerable people a greater level of protection.

Neil Bouch, Interim Managing Director, The Gateshead Housing Company said:

“When compared to other multi storey blocks in Gateshead the fire protection option appraisal conducted with TWFRS for this block determined that retrofitting a sprinkler installation was the most effective fire protection solution for Regent Court.

The design of Regent Court is unique in Gateshead given that it has long stretches of enclosed corridor. Without the sprinkler system there would have been a need to install an extensive number of additional fire doors to the walkways and corridors. As well as having a sprinkler system in the individual flats Regent Court has a communal area fire detection system.”

Regent Court was retrofitted with sprinklers by The Gateshead Housing Company in 2014.

John continued:

“We are proud to have worked with Gateshead Housing Company and other housing providers to encourage the installation of sprinklers in both new builds and retro fitted to existing buildings.  To date we are delighted to have seen sprinkler systems installed in over 2000 domestic premises across Tyne and Wear, where housing providers have assessed the benefits on a risk basis. ”

This incident is another example of a fire starting in a kitchen. Last year, TWFRS attended 316 kitchen fires and has just launched a fresh campaign to raise awareness of the fire risks present in the kitchen and how to avoid them.