High rise flats protected from fire thanks to sprinkler investment

Cheshire Fire Authority has invested £36,000 in sprinklers to help protect a newly renovated block of flats in Warrington. 

The eight-storey Kingsway House on Kingsway South in Latchford was officially re-opened on Friday 8 March 2024 after an extensive £6.3 million refurbishment project managed by Torus Group. The installation of the sprinkler system in the building will protect the 53 homes, and the many people that will live there, from fire.

Sprinklers have been likened to having a firefighter in every room. They only activate when they detect heat above a certain level and let out a spray of water over the affected area, and not with a deluge across the whole property, as sometimes shown in films.

Steve McCormick, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention and Protection, explained: “Every year people are needlessly made homeless, injured and even killed because of fire. It is indiscriminate; it destroys lives, businesses and properties, and can often be prevented with the addition of a sprinkler system.”

Steve added: “We’re encouraging decision makers to consider fitting sprinkler systems in all new builds, as well as retrospective fitting in older premises. We want to dispel the myth that they are hugely expensive - the cost of installation and the benefits they bring far outweigh the cost of destruction and potential loss of life and livelihoods caused by fire.”

It is known that where sprinklers are fitted:

  • fire deaths (including firefighter deaths) have been almost eliminated

  • fire injuries are reduced by 80%

  • firefighter safety is significantly improved

  • property damage is reduced by over 80%

  • effects of arson are reduced

  • there is a reduction in the environmental impact of fire

  • there is a reduction in the economic cost of fire.

Cllr Stef Nelson, Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, said: “To date, we have invested more than £200,000 in retrofitting sprinklers into high rise residential buildings across our county, and Kingsway House is the 18th project we have supported. We have all seen the total devastation a fire in a tower block can cause and we are committed to working with our social housing partners to provide the best possible protection for residents.”

Find out more information about how sprinkler systems work