Multi storey owner questioned on fire safety

Multi storey owner questioned on fire safety

INTU, WHICH owns the shopping centre in Watford, has responded to calls for an overhaul of fire safety after the Liverpool multi storey fire.

The fire on New Year’s Eve at the Echo Arena incinerated up to 1,600 vehicles, with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) believing sprinklers ‘could have stopped’ it, with 1,600 vehicles across seven floors of the council owned car park destroyed after a Land Rover burst into flames. As a response, Watford Observer reported on calls from members of the public in Watford to check fire safety at the car parks in the town.

In particular, calls were made regarding the intu shopping centre multi storey car park ‘to be thoroughly checked over to ensure it is fire safe’, with one reason suggested for the Liverpool blaze’s ferocity that the car park ‘lacked the relevant fire safety procedures’ including sprinklers. An intu spokesman stated that while the Watford car park doesn’t have sprinklers ‘due to it not being a legal requirement’, the location does have a ‘well rehearsed’ fire strategy.

They added: ‘Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of everyone in our centres. Every single intu shopping centre and car park has a fire strategy in place, managed by our own highly skilled fire officers. Our well-rehearsed plans are designed in partnership with specialist fire engineering consultants and the local fire authority.

‘We work together to ensure that our centres adhere to the highest possible standards and comply with all fire safety regulations and legislation. It is not currently a legal requirement to have sprinklers in our car parks and therefore they are not installed. However, as you would expect, we regularly review and update our processes.

‘Following the incident at the Liverpool Echo Arena, we are working with our fire safety consultants to undertake a further review of our car park fire safety measures as a precaution and will adapt our procedures based on their advice.’

Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, congratulated the company ‘for their efforts in ensuring the town is safe from a similar blaze’, adding: ‘Following the tragic fire in Liverpool Echo Arena, intu Watford will be reviewing their car park fire safety measures which I think is right. I welcome the fact that their fire alarm system was recently enhanced and that a proper fire strategy is in place.’