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Huge fire completely destroys Ossett warehouse facility

08 February 2022

RECENTLY, FIREFIGHTERS were called to what was reported as “a huge fire” at a warehouse near Wakefield in Yorkshire. The devastating blaze tore through a car workshop and a concrete factory on an industrial estate located close to residential housing.

The fire started on Wednesday 19 January at around 8.00 pm and required 80 firefighters, 14 appliances and specialist equipment including aerial ladder platforms and high-volume pumps from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle it. Local residents reported hearing loud explosions and the fire sent plumes of toxic black smoke across this congested area.

While workers escaped unharmed, considerable resources were used by the Fire and Rescue Service to control the fire. The impact on the local community and environment was significant, though, with local road closures, power cuts, residents forced to keep their windows and doors closed due to harmful smoke and a number of measures employed in order to minimise the impact of pollution to the local environment.

The disposal of the destroyed 1600 m2 building and shoring up of neighbouring properties will cause an adverse environmental impact, while the materials and resources required to repair and rebuild it will incur significant financial costs.

Effects of the blaze

History shows that fire can exert a significant impact on businesses and, in this case, two separate businesses will need to recover from the effects of the blaze. In the worse case scenario, the effect of such a fire is the closure of the business involved.  

It’s interesting to note that this fire took place in a modestly-sized building. The Fire and Rescue Service worked tirelessly to protect surrounding properties, yet the intervention of 80 brave firefighters could not stop the fire in a building of this size from spreading. Industrial fires impact far larger premises with similar results and with potentially larger impacts.

Preventing large and costly fires is possible through a combination of strategies. One of the most effective methods is the use of sprinkler systems which contain and control fires before the Fire and Rescue Service arrives. They minimise the wider impact of unmanageable fires, reducing costs to business and the economy as a whole.

Importantly, by limiting any fire damage, they also allow businesses to resume operations quickly, and often within hours of the incident occurring.

Fire safety professionals

The Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA) was established in 2010 and is an alliance of fire safety professionals working to protect UK plc against fire. The BSA aims to highlight the true cost of fire and increase the number of business premises that have automatic fire sprinklers fitted.

The BSA is driving a culture change such that sprinklers are understood and accepted as the norm for UK business buildings.

Founding members of the BSA are the National Fire Chiefs’ Council, the European and National Fire Sprinkler Networks, the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, commercial insurer FM Global and also the Fire Protection Association.

*For more information about the BSA visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org