Sprinkler activation saves young mum and her son from fire

Published: Wednesday 5th December 18

A young mother, who says her life was probably saved by a sprinkler that put out a fire in her flat, believes the council is doing the right thing by wanting to retro-fit sprinklers across its tower blocks.

Charice Evans, 19, of Nightingale Square, Balham, says the fire, which broke out while she and two-year-old son were both in the property, could have had disastrous consequences if it hadn’t been for the sprinkler.

She said: “I put the frying pan on the stove to fry some dumplings and left the kitchen to watch TV, whilst I waited for the oil to heat up.

“After a couple of minutes I heard a sprinkling sound and then a loud bang and ran back to the kitchen to see the place in flames. 

“I’ve got mummy brain at the moment, as I’m pregnant with my second child and totally forgot that I’d left the pan on the stove. I didn’t want the fire to cause any harm to my son, so I grabbed him and ran out of the house.”

The fire in the kitchen activated a sprinkler head which extinguished the fire by the time the London Fire Brigade arrived. Both mother and son escaped with no injury.

She added: “I think what the council is doing is sensible, because if it hadn’t been for the sprinkler I don’t know if my son and I would’ve escaped injury free. It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Wandsworth Council is currently installing sprinklers across the borough’s 25 sheltered housing blocks and its 15 temporary accommodation buildings and is planning to also put them into 100 of the borough’s tallest tower blocks. The video below shows a modern sprinkler system in a show flat. 

Cllr Caddy, cabinet member for housing, said: “This incident reinforces just how important and effective sprinklers are and underlines why we are carrying out the work we are doing.

“After the terrible events at Grenfell we made the move to install sprinklers in all our tower blocks of ten storeys or above so they were brought into line with current new build standards where sprinklers have been mandatory since 2007.

“This will improve fire safety in around 6,400 homes and is one of a series of measures we are taking to improve the safety of residents within their homes across the borough.”

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Recent comments

I can’t believe there wasn’t a mains wired heat or smoke detector in ‘this day and age’. Incredible!

8 December 2018

Only an idiot of the highest order would dream of using a "chip pan", those of us with a grip on reality user chippers that are thermostatically controlled. Please stop using this story as propaganda in your twisted agenda to force unwanted and unnecessary sprinkler system on flats that do not need them, thanks to proper construction, and have absolutely no proven risk of fire spreading from one flat to another. I have asked the LFB to inform me of any single fire which has spread from one flat to another on the Doddington estate. So far, 3 months later, they have either refused to answer my FoI question, or have no evidence of such an event ever happening since our estate was built in the late 1960s.
Mr John Gallagher

7 December 2018

Verry ethical thought from an unethical council who is breaking their own rules.

7 December 2018

Water is NOT recommended for a chip pan fire, it will accelerate the flames! Just type 'water on chip fire' in Google and look at the horrific pictures. This is a very irresponsible article.
Steven wood

6 December 2018

Too much trouble for residents to pay for their own Smoke Alarms and Sprinkler? - Well don't expect the Council Tax Payer to fork out for everything.

6 December 2018

Yes we have to take some responsibility for fire safety ourselves yes glad both are safe sprinkler systems might be needed but people want real evidence not s council if they was that concerned would not be charging leaseholders would they fra state not needed and we have not had them for many years using one example is quite pathetic excuse very surprised with cllr caddy input on the subject if this is what the Tories want for a month glad I don't live in Battersea give thepeople real evidence not just a knee jerk reaction like you have if you want to spend money on this how about block by block fully independent fire risk assessments
Tony arthur

5 December 2018

Apart from the sprinkler, never, ever leave a chip pan unattended, even for a minute.
susan lofthouse

5 December 2018