Sprinklers foil arson attacks at Sainsbury’s store in Coventry on 1st and 3rd March 2018

At the beginning of March 2018 there were a series of malicious fires at the Sainsbury’s Canley retail store in Coventry which were widely reported in the media.

The building is a 100m x 100m portal framed of steel construction

The first fire took place at about 10:55 am on Thursday 1st March and involved a rail of clothing within the store. The store was safely evacuated of the 200+ persons inside and fire service crews extinguished the fire. Information received from attending Fire Service personnel has confirmed that one sprinkler head on the store’s sprinkler system operated to contain the fire, limiting fire damage to about 5m². The fire was reported extinguished within 10 minutes of the sprinkler operating. A fire service officer reported……

”The sprinkler contained the fire to the large clothes rail and stopped further spread to other nearby clothing rails and items. The potential loss if the sprinkler had not intervened would have been greatly multiplied. The involvement of more materials would have made fire-fighting actions more difficult and the risk to personnel increased. A defensive approach may have been needed and this would have meant a larger ‘contained’ fire with the loss of the building a possibility. This would have affected employees, employers, revenue and community.”

The second fire occurred at about 10:00 am on Saturday 3rd March. A total of 10 fire-fighters worked with hose reels to put out the blaze which took hold in the clothing department of the store.

Again the sprinkler operated to control the fire though full details are sketchy. Thankfully there have been no further incidents reported.

Note: The attached photo is copyright and courtesy of Rob Bell and West Midlands Fire Service