Fire hit hotel had no sprinkler system

Fire hit hotel had no sprinkler system

THE HOLIDAY Inn in Walsall, which burnt down last week, had no sprinklers fitted despite West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service (WMFRS) recommendations.

Birmingham Mail reported on the aftermath of the fire on 2 August, with the hotel – positioned next to the M6 motorway – seeing most of the building ‘consumed’ by fire. At the height of the fire there were around 50 WMFRS attending, plus 19 appliances, six response vehicles and three aerial platforms. Investigators were ‘satisfied’ that the fire began accidentally in the hotel’s sauna, but WMFRS had recommended that the hotel have sprinklers fitted previously.

Gary Taylor, WMFRS’ assistant chief fire officer, stated: ‘The premises were not fitted with fire sprinklers but, previously, our fire safety officers had recommended they be retro-fitted in line with our Fire Authority’s position. Our fire investigators believe that the fire started accidentally, in the sauna room. However, we will be carrying out further investigations to try to pinpoint the precise cause.

‘We will also be looking in detail into factors that might have contributed to the spread and scale of the fire. This incident is a stark reminder to us all about the devastating impact a fire can have. It underlines the importance of businesses having up-to-date fire safety procedures, and of their staff, guests and visitors familiarising themselves with escape routes as an absolute priority.’

He added of the operation: ‘Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna. Two fire engines were mobilised within 42 seconds, as part of our pre-planned initial response to the site. The first crews arrived in under four minutes. Two teams of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the building to fight the fire.

‘However, the fire had already entered the roof space. Shortly afterwards it spread to other parts of the building. Fortunately, the premises were successfully evacuated and so our crews tackled the fire from outside. The roof had completely collapsed and we had real concerns about the stability of the remaining structure.’