Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
April 15, 2021


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Self-storage fire in Manchester: BSA highlights vulnerabilities of unsprinklered buildings

A fire in a self-storage facility in Manchester has destroyed hundreds of rented units. While no one was injured in the incident, the Business Sprinkler Alliance believes it once again brings into focus the vulnerability of buildings with no sprinklers in them.

Self-storageFire-Manchester-21Over 100 firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze at the self-storage facility in Denton on 21st February. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, though dozens of individuals have lost thousands of pounds worth of possessions. Customers included Rebecca Dakin, a business owner who reports losing £100,000 of stock from a new start-up, and Donna Hilton who lost her worldly possessions.

The fire in Denton follows similar fires from the Safehouse fire in 2017, Shurgard in 2018 and through to the Twinwoods Business Park fire in 2019. The catastrophic Shurgard Self Storage fire in Croydon, which also had no sprinklers, destroyed every one of its 1198 storage units. The cause of the blaze was filed as undetermined. Shurgard’s new replacement four-storey facility opened last year with the owners making the decision to include sprinklers in the rebuild despite not being required by building regulations

READ: A very modern tragedy… preventing self-storage facility fires

“One of the big questions with these self-storage facilities is how anyone can claim protection against fire based on the light separation between units and the lack of knowledge of what people are putting into their individual units,” said Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance. “Can self-storage operators assume that a fire will be contained in such circumstances and therefore offer comfort to their customers?”

It’s another painful reminder that fire does not discriminate; whether it is a self-storage warehouse, a university, a car park or an office, fires happen on a regular basis. However, they can be contained and extinguished by systems such as sprinklers to ensure that life is not put at risk and businesses, jobs and the economy are protected.

Sprinklers are a proven method of controlling fires, highlights the Business Sprinkler Alliance. The team notes the devices allow fire crews the time to safely gain access and extinguish fire and it welcomes their consideration as a way of ensuring that properties of all types are adequately protected.


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April 15, 2021 11:42 am

I think this fire highlights the need, in this case for sprinklers, but not in all large buildings. Storage sites, particularly of this design with multiple floors, creates a wide range of management issues regarding fire safety and huge challenges for the fire service. Generally, little or no control exists on what is taken into the rented storage spaces and the hazards, let alone ignition sources (Lithium batteries as an example) is endless. Once a fire starts in a unit it will be very difficult to 1. Locate it and 2. deal with it using portable firefighting equipment. Staff levels… Read more »