Sprinklers helped to extinguish a fire at the TK Maxx factory on Dalewood Road in Chesterton in the early hours of this morning after a fire broke out in a bailing machine.
"The staff were able to resume work after we left the incident at just after 4.30am – had sprinklers not been fitted the chances are further equipment would have been damaged and work would have needed to be halted."
Station Manager, Ian Read
Crews from Newcastle, Ashley and Sandyford were automatically alerted to the fire at around 1.20am by the factories automatic fire alarm system and on arrival found that the sprinkler system had activated and contained the fire.
Around 36 on site staff had safely evacuated and waited outside whilst firefighters dealt with the incident.
Station Manager, Ian Read said: "By the time we got there the fire had been controlled by the sprinkler system. Firefighters opened up the machine to then fully extinguish the fire and cool the machine.
"We also used thermal imaging cameras to check if the fire had spread to the main part of the building. The sprinklers however had done a fantastic job of keeping the fire contained to the machine meaning only that piece of equipment has been fire damaged.
"The staff were able to resume work after we left the incident at just after 4.30am – had sprinklers not been fitted the chances are further equipment would have been damaged and work would have needed to be halted.
"There was also the danger of the fire spreading quite rapidly without sprinklers; the machine involved is used to compress cardboard which would catch fire and burn very quickly given the chance.
"We would encourage all businesses to have sprinklers fitted. There are misconceptions that should there be a fire several sprinklers will operate, this isn’t the case - they will only operate where the fire is located.
"As this incident has highlighted they do prevent the spread of fires, and so minimise the economic cost of a fire - which is even more important during these difficult financial times."
More information about sprinklers can be found in the business section of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website: http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/