The blaze broke out at Sainsbury’s Thameside distribution depot on Monday May 18 in a parked lorry in one of the loading bays outside the warehouse. It spread to six other lorries and part of the depot’s wall.
The exact cause is under investigation.
Minimising damage and saving lives
The incident highlighted the clear benefits of sprinklers in minimising damage and saving lives, London Fire Brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner Mark Andrews claimed.
“There is absolutely no doubt that in this case the sprinkler system, along with the quick actions of our crews, prevented a much more serious fire from spreading any further into the depot and causing potentially millions of pounds worth of damage to both the building and stock inside,” he said.
“As well as being potentially life-saving devices, sprinklers and other fire suppression systems help with business continuity by minimising disruption and allowing businesses to get back to normal as soon as possible,” he said.
10 fire engines and more than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze. Thick black smoke from the fire could be seen for miles around.
Each year one in five warehouses in England will have a fire requiring the attendance of firefighters, a study by independent third-party approval body, BRE Global, commissioned by the Business Sprinkler Alliance, found.
The total annual cost to the UK economy of fires in English warehouses without fire sprinklers is £232M, it claimed.
To reduce the devastating effect fires could have on people and property, London Fire Brigade is campaigning for business owners, care providers and housing developers to fit sprinklers in commercial premises, residential care homes, housing and schools.