11th July 2010: Around 100 Fire Fighters and 14 Fire Engines from all over Suffolk were called to a blaze at the Wessex Foods factory in Lowestoft after a small fire spread quickly and uncontrollably through the frozen foods packaging facility.

It took 10 days and 52 million litres of water to completely extinguish the inferno and resulted in 150 workers losing their jobs together with untold environmental damage.

The destruction could have been “wholly avoidable” had a Sprinkler System been installed.

A report carried out by the Business Sprinkler Alliance, has been issued to highlight to businesses that fire sprinklers save lives and would reduce the nine billion litres of water used to put out commercial and businesses fires every year.  These fires also pump 350,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Iain Cox, chairman of the Business Sprinkler Alliance and chief fire officer for Berkshire, said: “As last year’s fire in Lowestoft showed, fire losses have been felt right across the economy.

“They cost the UK £3.4m every day, They also cost lives and now we have the proof they cause terrible environmental damage. This is unnecessary waste and must change.”

A spokesman for the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Wessex Foods is a good example of where a sprinkler system would have prevented a small fire from developing rapidly and ending up in the total destruction of the building with the subsequent loss of the business.

“These types of fire have a far-reaching impact on people’s lives, businesses and the local economy but are easily prevented.”

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