Wallsend house fire: sprinklers do the job

Two residents from Wallsend are safe and still have a home thanks to their new domestic sprinkler system. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service received a call just before 7pm on Saturday 23 January about a fire at a bungalow on Barr Close in Battle Hill. It is believed that the fire started in the kitchen when a visiting carer accidently left a bag on the hob. The front door glass panels blew out when an aerosol and a bottle of perfume exploded in the intense heat. Fortunately, the resident was not at home at the time. When the fire broke out, the detector head closest to the fire activated spraying a fine mist into the kitchen which cooled the smoke and quickly suppressed the fire. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and North Tyneside Council joined forces in 2014 to jointly fund the fitting of domestic sprinkler systems in nine bungalows at Barr Close, on the site of the former Byrness Court sheltered accommodation. Each system operates independently of each other in the event of a fire. North Tyneside Council built the new bungalows as part of its drive to deliver more affordable housing for the borough. Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Baines, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Thankfully no one was injured during this incident and the domestic sprinkler system activated to extinguish the fire quickly. “Many of our vulnerable people are choosing to live independently in their own homes so we want to make sure they stay as safe as possible from fire. “Clear evidence suggests that the installation of sprinklers, especially in the homes of our most vulnerable members of our community is one of the most effective measures in protecting occupants from fire. A fire death in a building with sprinklers fitted is extremely rare, where the sprinkler is appropriately designed, fully operational and maintained. “This is why Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is fully committed to campaigning for the installation of sprinklers in new build or existing homes, together with non-domestic premises. The Service is working closely with all local authorities across Tyne and Wear to make this a reality." North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn said: “The safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us. By installing sprinkler systems we can give some of our more vulnerable resident’s added security and protection in their own homes." Councillor Carole Burdis, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority Member for North Tyneside said: “Sprinkler systems provide the ultimate protection from fire, which is even more important for the most vulnerable members of our communities. This is why we are campaigning for sprinkler systems to be fitted to all new and existing homes."

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