26 June 2014

Fire officers have said that the sprinkler system at the ASOS warehouse near Barnsely limited the spread of the fire and saved the building from being destroyed.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Head of Prevention and Protection Phil Shillito, commented: “The fire suppression systems installed by ASOS were sophisticated, worked effectively and played a significant role in reducing the spread of the fire in its early stages.

“This was still a major fire and our firefighters did a tremendous job in tackling the blaze and bringing it under control so quickly. But there is no doubt that the sprinkler system in place greatly limited the damage, and probably saved the warehouse from being destroyed.”

The fire,which is believed to have been started deliberately, broke out at the 60,000 square metre site at around 10pm on Friday (20 June).

Ten fire engines and more than 60 firefighters attended the incident, which is estimated to have caused millions of pounds worth of damage in lost stock.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service is using the incident to remind businesses of the importance of investing in sprinkler systems, which can save lives and reduce the amount of damage to both property and the environment.

Only warehouses and certain other commercial premises greater than 20,000m3 must have sprinkler systems installed. The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is campaigning for this threshold to be lowered.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.