London Fire Brigade

Domestic sprinkler system saves flat from kitchen blaze

16 February 2018

Sprinklers suppressed a Poplar flat fire after the occupants left a chip pan unattended on the hob.

Firefighters were called to the fire in a fifteenth floor flat on  City Island Way in Poplar last night.

When the crews arrived they found that the sprinkler system in the kitchen had activated and quickly put the out fire.

Neil Guyett, senior fire safety officer at the London Fire Brigade, said:

“The sprinkler system did its job and suppressed the fire before it could damage the flat and potentially injure the residents.

“We believe a chip pan was left unattended and caught alight. We want to remind people to never leave a pan alone with the heat on – not even for a few seconds. 

“You should also never tackle the fire yourself, get out and call 999.”

Two women and four children left the flat before the Brigade arrived. One infant was treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

A further 60 residents in the building  self evacuated the block before firefighters arrived.

Following the tragic Grenfell fire the Brigade has renewed our call for residential tower blocks and new school builds to have sprinklers.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said in September: “The tragic fire at Grenfell has thrown fire safety into the spotlight and while we are not pre-empting the findings of the Inquiry, now is the time to remind Government of life-saving recommendations we have been making for years.

“We are calling for residential tower blocks to be retrofitted with sprinklers and they should be mandatory in all new school builds and major refurbishments.

“Sprinklers are the only fire safety system that detects a fire, suppresses a fire and raises the alarm. They save lives  and protect property and they are especially important where there are vulnerable residents who would find it difficult to escape, like those with mobility problems.

“My priority is to save lives but I can also make an economic case for sprinklers. It costs around £1,500 - £2,500 to retrofit a flat, while the cost of refurbishing a one-bedroom flat after a fire is about £77,000.”

 London Fire Brigade has issued the following safety advice if  a pan catches fire:

• Don't tackle the fire yourself and don't attempt to move the pan
• Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
• Turn off the heat, if it is safe to do so
• Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call 999
The Brigade was called at 1920. The sprinkler system had put out the fire before the first fire engine from Poplar fire station arrived at 1923.