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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 3, 2018


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TWin hotel fires

Hotel deaths make case for fitting sprinklers in hotels irresistible, says BAFSA

Sprinklers could have prevented two deaths caused by one of two recent hotel fires, according to the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA).

On 18 December, the same day that Dame Judith Hackitt published the interim report on building regulations commissioned in the wake of the Grenfell fire,  two young men lost their lives in a fire at Cameron House Hotel in Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Another 200 guests were evacuated and the hotel suffered extensive damage.

Earlier in the same day, 47 guests were evacuated from the Gateway to Wales Hotel on Deeside in North Wales after fire broke out.

A number of guests in both hotels had to be rescued by Fire and Rescue Services as the fires spread rapidly.

Neither hotels were fitted with automatic fire sprinklers.


“Money well spent”

In a press release BAFSA said that “had sprinklers been fitted they would have controlled the fire or extinguished it and prevented the loss of two lives.”

The press release continued: “Both hotels have had major refurbishments in the past to ensure that guests are able to enjoy the facilities provided to the full. However, would it not have been money well spent if some of the money had been spent on an automatic fire sprinkler system ensuring the guests safety as well as their comfort?”

Direct losses from fires in hotels and boarding houses amounts to more than £4m – 2% of the total cost of all UK fires – according to the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

BAFSA acknowledges that progress has been made in terms of major international chains. However, smaller hotels should be installing sprinklers too, it argues.

“International hotel chains have long recognised the life safety and property protection benefits of comprehensive fire sprinkler protection and larger hotel chains, notably Marriott, Hilton and Starwood, have been routinely installing sprinkler systems in their hotels worldwide.

“Looking at today’s loss of life and the horrendous experience that hotel guests were put through in the early hours of the morning, it must be time to consider fitting automatic fire sprinklers in all hotels?”

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Alastair Brockett
Alastair Brockett
January 18, 2018 11:24 am

I find it surprising that such a definitive statement re the use of sprinklers saving lives can be made. The significant occurence of the fire was in the original part of the hotel. This was a victorian build with all the associated gaps and conjoining voids behind panelling and original walls. Somehow I cannot see how sprinklers would have been able to cope with that unseen/hidden spread. Sprinklers perhaps but compartmentation especially cavity barriers definately.

Brett Gilbert
Brett Gilbert
January 18, 2018 12:06 pm

Whilst I agree Sprinklers may well have extinguished, or restricted, the spread of the fire, the default position for everyone seems to be ‘fit a sprinkler’. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. This also does not follow the hierarchy of control process followed by those in fire, health and safety. Were there other issues which lead to the ignition, fuelling and spread of the fire? Lack of compartmentalisation? propped open or poorly maintained fire doors? were control measures in place for the combustible nature of a Christmas tree for example? were the lights etc checked prior to… Read more »

paul Evans
paul Evans
January 18, 2018 7:09 pm

I agree Brett I would saythree things need to be considered.
1/ The location of the victims within the compartment (Building).
2/ The cause of deth I would suggest Smoke inhalation.
3/ How was the toxicity in the atmosphere be permitted to reach this level.

Are there alternatives ?