Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Firehouse that burned to the ground had no alarms or sprinklers

We like the to think that the place the firefighters hangout with all the costly, life-saving equipment would be well protected against fire, but a recent blaze that leveled a firehouse and everything in it proves that isn’t always the case. Authorities admit “there is a fire safety message there for us.”

Firefighters were caught by surprise when the firehouse in Downham Market, in Norfolk, England, caught fire, and they had to hear about it from the folks next door. The firehouse was reportedly not equipped with an alarm system, so no one knew about the fire until neighbors reported smelling smoke.

Amazingly, the fire department is saying that the building had no smoke alarms and no sprinkler system, or it would still be standing today. Fire crews were reportedly “dumbfounded” at the news.

At the end of the day, the 8-year-old building, the nearly half-million-dollar fire engine, and all the equipment inside were lost to the fire. No one was hurt, and no other structures were damaged. The engine and equipment have been replaced. Replacing the building will take more time, and reportedly cost about $3 million — no word on whether or not that includes alarm and sprinkler systems.

Roy Harold, Norfolk’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said, “I think there is a fire safety message there for us.”

He added, “We now ask all new building developments to consider sprinklers very strongly.”

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