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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Sprinklers Allow for Safe Evacuation

Around 90 workers at F Ball on Station Road in Cheddleton were able to safely evacuate the factory this morning after a fire broke out at around 8.30am and the fitted sprinklers activated.

"Without sprinklers, the fire could have developed into a much more severe fire and could have spread further throughout the ducting."

Station Manager, Andy Leedham

The sprinklers helped to contain the fire meaning that everyone was able to get out quickly and safely to wait for the arrival of firefighters.

The Service had already been alerted to the fire by the automatic fire alarms at the premises and fire control had spoken to a representative on site to confirm details of the fire.

Two crews from Leek, a crew from Ipstones and the aerial ladder platform from Longton attended and tackled the fire, which involved a resin mixer. The fire also spread to some ducting in the building.

Station Manager, Andy Leedham said: “The sprinklers operated which quickly confined the fire and enabled firefighters to gain access to the location of the fire swiftly. It also allowed all of the staff in the building at the time to safely evacuate.

“The activation of the sprinklers meant we were able to quickly bring the fire under control and allow the majority of the staff at F Ball to resume work.

“We would probably still be there dealing the fire now had the sprinklers not been in use and it would have been unlikely that any F Ball staff would have been able to return to work so quickly.

“The damage has been limited to the resin mixer and some slight damage some of the ducting attached to the mixer. Without sprinklers, the fire could have developed into a much more severe fire and could have spread further throughout the ducting.

“We’d urge all businesses to fit sprinkler systems, there are misconceptions that should there be a fire, several sprinklers will operate however this isn’t the case as they will only operate where the fire is located. As this incident has highlighted, sprinkler do prevent fires from spreading, and so minimises the economic cost of a fire - which is even more important during these difficult financial times.”

Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to check that all ducting was free from hotspots and the incident was closed at 11.50am.