Published June 12, 2019
The contrast could not have been starker.
Two blocks of flats, two fires, two hundred miles and 36 hours apart and two very different results.
The first, a block of flats in Greater Manchester had recently been retrofitted with Protect24 fire sprinklers.
When fire broke out in the ground floor flat of a pensioner asleep in Enfield House, it was extinguished almost immediately by a single sprinkler.
None of the residents in the ten-storey block needed to be evacuated and damage to the apartment was minimal.
A bedbound pensioner living in the property, operated by ForHousing, required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
The other block of flats, a six-storey block in Barking, East London, did not have sprinklers.
A fire, believed to have started on an outside wooden balcony, quickly spread over all six storeys.
More than 100 firefighters spent two-and-a-half-hours tackling the blaze which left 20 flats destroyed and another 10 damaged.
Protect24 Managing Director Mark Lyons, said: “Sprinklers save lives. It is a fact that can not be disputed and this is a startling example of the benefits.
“The fire in Eccles could have been a disaster without fire sprinklers and the fire protection measures we recently installed.
“A fire breaking out in a ground floor apartment during the early hours of the morning when people are sleeping could have ended in total disaster.
“Fortunately, City West and the ForViva group had very recently made a significant investment to provide protection for their tenants.
“The sprinkler system Protect24 retrofitted did its job. It is understood a single sprinkler dealt with the fire and damage was fairly minimal.
“The lady living in the apartment did require hospital treatment and we send our love and prayers and best wishes to her, but I understand her injuries are minimal. Without sprinklers, this would not have been the case.
“When you then see the results of the fire in Barking just a few hours later, it surely emphasis the need for sprinklers. Retrofitting fire sprinklers should not be an if, but or a maybe. They are a necessity.”
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called at 03.45am on Saturday, June 8 to the fire in Enfield Close, Eccles.
Five fire engines from Eccles, Stretford, Sale and Agecroft, along with the turntable ladder from Manchester Central and support from Irlam attended.
A spokesman for GMFRS said: “On arrival, firefighters quickly dealt with a fire in a ground floor property and one person, suffering from smoke inhalation and burns, was rescued and taken to hospital by the ambulance.
“Fire crews used four breathing apparatus, one hose reel, a positive pressure ventilation fan, lighting, breaking in gear and trauma care to deal with the incident.
“We were in attendance for two hours and thirty minutes.”
The Eccles housing block was one of 1,300 homes to benefit from Protect24 retrospective fire safety program investment by the ForViva Group.
Hours later a second fire broke out in De Pass Gardens, Barking. Within minutes the fire, at 15.30 on Sunday, June 9th, had spread over six floors.
Twenty flats were destroyed and another 10 have been damaged after a fire engulfed a building in east London. The cause is being investigated but the building does not have sprinklers.
Resident Mihaela Gheorghe said she had “raised several issues” about the safety of wooden balconies on the blocks of flats.
She added: “I was in my fourth-floor flat when the fire started. We ran out. The fire brigade came but they found it hard to find a water supply at first.”
“We said that one day a fire is going to happen.
“We raised several issues to the builder, the maintenance companies and the council about the safety of having all these wooden balconies.”
Mukhtar Raja, who lives nearby, said he saw flames when he looked out of his window.
“The heat was unbearable and it was spreading so fast. I went outside and filmed the footage with my phone.
“The fact it was a tall building and the speed at which the fire was spreading was scary.”
Crews from Barking, Dagenham, East Ham and other surrounding fire stations attended.
London Fire Brigade‘s Andy Maloney said: “Crews worked really hard at the scene to bring the fire under control.”
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We sent two ambulance crews, two solo responders, our hazardous area response team and London’s Air Ambulance.”
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