Firefighters were called to a large fire at an unsprinklered warehouse of a furniture factory in Andover. The devastating blaze tore through this family-owned furniture business and a neighbouring tenant on a busy industrial estate.
The fire on the morning of March 13th at Dormy House required 100 firefighters, 12 appliances and specialist equipment including aerial ladder platforms and high-volume pumps from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and neighbouring counties to tackle the blaze. The fire sent plumes of toxic black smoke over this congested area. The fire service reported that 90% of the predominantly one storey, 10 year old building was destroyed by the fire which also spread to Urban Retreat, a cosmetics and perfume mail order business next door.
Thankfully workers escaped unharmed but considerable resources were used by the fire and rescue service to control the fire. The impact on the local community and environment was significant with local road closures, residents forced to keep their windows and doors closed due to harmful smoke and a number of measures employed to minimise the impact of pollution to the local environment.
The disposal of the destroyed 3500m2 building will cause an adverse environmental impact, while the materials and resources required to repair and rebuild it will incur significant financial costs.
Dormy House is a family-run furniture making and textile business which has had a successful 42 years of trading, having started in the founder’s garage. Sadly history often shows that fire can have an impact on a business who will need to recover from the effect of the blaze. In the worst case scenario, the effect of the fire is the closure of the business. The neighbouring business Urban Retreat posted on their website to say “Due to this massive loss of inventory, we will not be able to fulfil current orders.”
It is interesting to note that this fire took place in a modestly sized building. The fire service worked hard to protect surrounding properties yet the intervention of 100 firefighters and their resources could not stop the fire in a building of this size. Industrial fires impact far larger premises with similar results and with potentially larger impacts.
Preventing large 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 therefore minimise the wider impact of unmanageable fires, reducing costs to business and the economy as a whole. Importantly, by limiting any fire damage, they allow businesses to resume operations quickly, often within hours of the incident.
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