Sprinkler activation at Kirkcaldy flooring manufacturer, 19th July 2016
At 0129 hr on Tuesday 19th July 2016 a fire was detected by automatic alarm system in a machinery room at a factory producing flooring products in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. The fire was a standby diesel generator used to back up the main electrical supply and jockey pump for the sprinkler pump house.
Scottish Fire and Rescue service mobilised 2 rescue pumps, 1 aerial pump, and 1 station manager to the incident. The fire was extinguished by 0213 hrs.
On this day the main production facility was under maintenance and procedures were to have the electricity supplies re-instated by the end of the day. Unfortunately this did not occur resulting in a drop in pressure in the sprinkler system being detected, and with the main electrical pumps unable to switch on, the backup diesel generator kicked in.
The pump house is a brick built building 10 x 10m attached to the main production facility of multiple floors. One sprinkler head actuated above the diesel generator and extinguished the fire. Crews were able to quickly enter the building and isolate the diesel generator that was powered by battery backup.
As soon as the sprinkler head was replaced and the electricity restored to the main electric pumps, the sprinklers were working again. There was minimal smoke damage within the pump house and it was a simple matter to repair the diesel generator, so full back up pumps were in place as soon as damaged diesel parts were replaced.
This fire highlighted the need to install further relays to the alarm panels to identify that the diesel generator had started and to also ensure sprinkler coverage extends to the associated machinery spaces.
No production time was lost to the facility due to this successful operation of the sprinkler system that in this case extinguished the fire.