Calls for inquiry into Lytchett Minster School blaze

GUTTED: The remains of the Gainsford theatre inside the Arts block at Lytchett Minster School after it was destroyed by fire which was the result of a lightning strike

WARNING: Dorset’s Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter

First published in News by

CALLS are being made for an inquiry into the major fire that gutted the creative arts block and theatre at Lytchett Minster School.

Questions have been asked about the hour’s delay between the start of the blaze and the fire service being alerted; poor water pressure on the site; and the lack of an automatic sprinkler system in the building because of the way it was designed.

Fred Drane, Liberal Democrat county councillor for the area, said: “Dorset County Council should have an internal inquiry, then if members of the Liberal Democrat group are not happy with it, we want it to go public. When they rebuild, they ought to be putting in sprinkler system.”

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, said: “There must be an inquiry. This is not the time for penny-pinching Millions of pounds shouldn’t be spent on new school buildings without making sure money is allocated for sprinklers.”

Stewart Kidd, spokesman for the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, said: “There are schools being built today of materials that I wouldn’t use to construct a garden shed.

“Smoke detectors go off in about 20 seconds and sprinklers about two minutes later, allowing your fire brigade to get there and fight a fire of manageable size.

“A sprinkler system would have contained the fire to a much more restricted area. The building wouldn’t have been destroyed.”

The fire at Lytchett Minster School started when lightning struck the roof just before 6.02am on December 27, but Dorset Fire and Rescue Service was not alerted until 7.07am, by a 999 call from a mobile telephone. The first crew arrived on the scene in 15 minutes, but initially struggled with low water pressure and volume. Wessex Water increased the pressure and bowsers were used to boost supply.

Former district councillor Mike Fry, of Upton, who was at the site at 7.30am, said: “The fire appeared relatively small. It continues to surprise me how it could have spread so quickly, destroying a modern building.”

Wessex Water says that in cases where buildings were some distance from the nearest hydrant, as was the case with the arts block, developers could pay for a water main to be put in as a feed. This had not been done at the school.

Mike Harries, Dorset County Council's head of property, said: “To respond to a fire, water quantity is more important than water pressure and it is our understanding that Dorset Fire and Rescue Service was happy with the provision of water and hydrants at the school.

“The water pressure available was insufficient for sprinklers to operate effectively, so they were not installed. However, the nature of the lightning strike and the fact that the fire started on the roof, together with the high ceiling heights in much of the building, means that it is unlikely sprinklers would have been effective in this instance.

“A fire alarm system was installed in the building and was linked to a monitoring organisation which would then inform the fire service. We understand the alarm system, along with other electrical installations, were destroyed by the lightning strike.”

The county council is working with the school and the insurers to agree how much immediate demolition work needs to be carried out.

Brigade chief backs sprinklers

Dorset’s Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter, said: “This school does not have sprinklers. We would strongly encourage all local authorities in the planning stages to consider the benefit of including sprinklers in school premises.

“It must, however, be remembered that sprinklers are designed to suppress fires that generally start in occupied and high risk rooms. It is unlikely that if sprinklers were installed that they would have been installed in the internal roof compartment.”

The official fire investigation report is expected within the next month and will be made public.

Comments (26)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:39pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Hari88 says...

It's such a shame that this has happened again.

The original fire happened when I was in Year 7 and the rebuilding wasn't completed when I left Year 13. Many of the intervening years were spent in classrooms so subsided, rat-infested and riddled with damp that setting fire to them would have been something of achievement (naturally, wearing a coat indoors was against the Nazi-esque uniform regulations, so recurrent chest infections were a given)

I hope that lessons have been learned and replacement building are constructed quickly, rather than allowing red tape and political wrangling to slow everything down. Of course a beautiful new building would be lovely, but getting the students back in and minimising disruption to their education should be priority number one.

Wishing the current students all the best - it must be so upsetting to see the damage, especially for Purbeck house. Good luck especially to those with A level exams this week!
It's such a shame that this has happened again. The original fire happened when I was in Year 7 and the rebuilding wasn't completed when I left Year 13. Many of the intervening years were spent in classrooms so subsided, rat-infested and riddled with damp that setting fire to them would have been something of achievement (naturally, wearing a coat indoors was against the Nazi-esque uniform regulations, so recurrent chest infections were a given) I hope that lessons have been learned and replacement building are constructed quickly, rather than allowing red tape and political wrangling to slow everything down. Of course a beautiful new building would be lovely, but getting the students back in and minimising disruption to their education should be priority number one. Wishing the current students all the best - it must be so upsetting to see the damage, especially for Purbeck house. Good luck especially to those with A level exams this week! Hari88
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Arjay says...

It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition?
Bit fundamental really.
There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case......
The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome.

I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do.
To not include that simple function was just crazy!!
It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition? Bit fundamental really. There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case...... The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome. I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do. To not include that simple function was just crazy!! Arjay
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Mon 7 Jan 13

tramp_about_town says...

A few things don't really add up.
--------------------
--------------------
-----
Stewart Kidd, spokesman for the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, said: “There are schools being built today of materials that I wouldn’t use to construct a garden shed.
--------------------
--------------------
------
Name and shame the schools then Stewart as I am sure they are all built to the correct regulations. Surely it's your duty to warn the public if their kids are at risk or are you just scaremongering to drum up some business.
--------------------
--------------------
-----
“Smoke detectors go off in about 20 seconds and sprinklers about two minutes later, allowing your fire brigade to get there and fight a fire of manageable size.

--------------------
--------------------
---

I thought that sprinklers worked on temperature not time and as the fire started in the roof and heat rises then the fire would still have taken hold in the roof without the sprinklers going off.


--------------------
--------------------
--------
“To respond to a fire, water quantity is more important than water pressure and it is our understanding that Dorset Fire and Rescue Service was happy with the provision of water and hydrants at the school.

--------------------
--------------------
--------
Don't moan after the event DFRS if you had the opportunity to raise the situation of low volume and pressure before the fire but didn't.




--------------------
--------------------
---------

“A fire alarm system was installed in the building and was linked to a monitoring organisation which would then inform the fire service. We understand the alarm system, along with other electrical installations, were destroyed by the lightning strike.”
--------------------
--------------------
-------

I thought modern fire alarm systems these days had a backup power supply in case the main supply was lost. Were 2 supplies lost then? I also thought that if a monitoring company loses it's 2 separate monitoring lines it would be treated as a call. All sounds a bit suspect.

--------------------
--------------------
---------
Dorset’s Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter, said: “This school does not have sprinklers. We would strongly encourage all local authorities in the planning stages to consider the benefit of including sprinklers in school premises.
--------------------
--------------------
--------

It sounds like sprinklers wouldn't have made a huge difference anyway so not sure what he is banging on about. Of course! everyone pay through the nose to install sprinklers even though they might not work as they are in the wrong place with the wrong pressure and should only go in occupied rooms anyway in which case I am sure the occupants might see what's going on before it starts!

It also sounds like sprinklers may have been considered reading Mike Harries comments but either they didn't proceed as DFRS were happy with the hydrant arrangements or the county council penny pinched and didn't want to pay for the work to upgrade the pressure.

Sounds like a huge bum covering exercise going on by all the big cheeses at the fire and council blaming everyone else.

Why is the chief fire officer grinning like a cheshire cat? Oh that might be something to do with his £160k package!
A few things don't really add up. -------------------- -------------------- ----- Stewart Kidd, spokesman for the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association, said: “There are schools being built today of materials that I wouldn’t use to construct a garden shed. -------------------- -------------------- ------ Name and shame the schools then Stewart as I am sure they are all built to the correct regulations. Surely it's your duty to warn the public if their kids are at risk or are you just scaremongering to drum up some business. -------------------- -------------------- ----- “Smoke detectors go off in about 20 seconds and sprinklers about two minutes later, allowing your fire brigade to get there and fight a fire of manageable size. -------------------- -------------------- --- I thought that sprinklers worked on temperature not time and as the fire started in the roof and heat rises then the fire would still have taken hold in the roof without the sprinklers going off. -------------------- -------------------- -------- “To respond to a fire, water quantity is more important than water pressure and it is our understanding that Dorset Fire and Rescue Service was happy with the provision of water and hydrants at the school. -------------------- -------------------- -------- Don't moan after the event DFRS if you had the opportunity to raise the situation of low volume and pressure before the fire but didn't. -------------------- -------------------- --------- “A fire alarm system was installed in the building and was linked to a monitoring organisation which would then inform the fire service. We understand the alarm system, along with other electrical installations, were destroyed by the lightning strike.” -------------------- -------------------- ------- I thought modern fire alarm systems these days had a backup power supply in case the main supply was lost. Were 2 supplies lost then? I also thought that if a monitoring company loses it's 2 separate monitoring lines it would be treated as a call. All sounds a bit suspect. -------------------- -------------------- --------- Dorset’s Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter, said: “This school does not have sprinklers. We would strongly encourage all local authorities in the planning stages to consider the benefit of including sprinklers in school premises. -------------------- -------------------- -------- It sounds like sprinklers wouldn't have made a huge difference anyway so not sure what he is banging on about. Of course! everyone pay through the nose to install sprinklers even though they might not work as they are in the wrong place with the wrong pressure and should only go in occupied rooms anyway in which case I am sure the occupants might see what's going on before it starts! It also sounds like sprinklers may have been considered reading Mike Harries comments but either they didn't proceed as DFRS were happy with the hydrant arrangements or the county council penny pinched and didn't want to pay for the work to upgrade the pressure. Sounds like a huge bum covering exercise going on by all the big cheeses at the fire and council blaming everyone else. Why is the chief fire officer grinning like a cheshire cat? Oh that might be something to do with his £160k package! tramp_about_town
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Mon 7 Jan 13

anigel says...

It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed.

Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike.
It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed. Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike. anigel
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Mon 7 Jan 13

BIGTONE says...

Arjay wrote:
It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition?
Bit fundamental really.
There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case......
The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome.

I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do.
To not include that simple function was just crazy!!
The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition? Bit fundamental really. There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case...... The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome. I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do. To not include that simple function was just crazy!![/p][/quote]The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

7:12pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Arjay says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Arjay wrote:
It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition?
Bit fundamental really.
There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case......
The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome.

I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do.
To not include that simple function was just crazy!!
The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.
I'm sorry, but that's just not true.
All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard.
And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal.

As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault.
The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure.

In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'.

It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously....
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition? Bit fundamental really. There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case...... The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome. I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do. To not include that simple function was just crazy!![/p][/quote]The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.[/p][/quote]I'm sorry, but that's just not true. All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard. And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal. As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault. The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure. In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'. It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously.... Arjay
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Mon 7 Jan 13

alan mdransfield says...

The comments about water pressure is nonsense because a large water storage tank "should" have been designed and built then the fire service doesn't rely on main water pressure .
From photographs available fire retardent insulations boards were NOT installed in the roof,hence, the RAPID spread of the fire.
It would appear to me that the Lightning Protection System (LPS)was installed sub-standard, which, doesn't surprise me, as it is common practice here in Exeter.
I am currently awaiting an Upper tribunal decision of 6 PFI school in Exeter which ALSO have sloppy LPS.
No doubt the taxpayers will pick-up the bill for any rebuild.
By the grace of god nobody was killed or injured and it is only a matter of time before we have body bags are used somewhere in the country.
The comments about water pressure is nonsense because a large water storage tank "should" have been designed and built then the fire service doesn't rely on main water pressure . From photographs available fire retardent insulations boards were NOT installed in the roof,hence, the RAPID spread of the fire. It would appear to me that the Lightning Protection System (LPS)was installed sub-standard, which, doesn't surprise me, as it is common practice here in Exeter. I am currently awaiting an Upper tribunal decision of 6 PFI school in Exeter which ALSO have sloppy LPS. No doubt the taxpayers will pick-up the bill for any rebuild. By the grace of god nobody was killed or injured and it is only a matter of time before we have body bags are used somewhere in the country. alan mdransfield
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Arjay says...

anigel wrote:
It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed.

Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike.
I can't see a modern fire alarm system, installed to monitor a multi million pound public building relying on a locally powered auto dialler. Too risky, for the reasons already outlined.
It would be amazing if there wasn't a permanently active link, which would automatically indicate a serious fault condition in the event of total link failure.

A simple internet connection, via a standard telephone line, would send a constant stream of data on the system status. A TOTAL loss of data would be seen as a SERIOUS fault condition, requiring immediate attention.

If that kind of system was not in place, for an unmanned public site of this value, than heads should roll.....
[quote][p][bold]anigel[/bold] wrote: It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed. Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike.[/p][/quote]I can't see a modern fire alarm system, installed to monitor a multi million pound public building relying on a locally powered auto dialler. Too risky, for the reasons already outlined. It would be amazing if there wasn't a permanently active link, which would automatically indicate a serious fault condition in the event of total link failure. A simple internet connection, via a standard telephone line, would send a constant stream of data on the system status. A TOTAL loss of data would be seen as a SERIOUS fault condition, requiring immediate attention. If that kind of system was not in place, for an unmanned public site of this value, than heads should roll..... Arjay
  • Score: 0

7:29pm Mon 7 Jan 13

tramp_about_town says...

I'm surprised the insurance company isn't trying to wriggle out of paying up due to being an Act of God or some other reason such as alarm monitoring or lack of maybe, inadequate fire containment or internal fire doors propped open allowing the fire to spread

Perhaps they are which is why the big cheeses have started squirming and finger pointing!

Just a thought but if the lightning strike had fried all the electrics, how come the CCTV camera was still powered up filming it all and the recording machine still working?

Selective power outage obviously!
I'm surprised the insurance company isn't trying to wriggle out of paying up due to being an Act of God or some other reason such as alarm monitoring or lack of maybe, inadequate fire containment or internal fire doors propped open allowing the fire to spread Perhaps they are which is why the big cheeses have started squirming and finger pointing! Just a thought but if the lightning strike had fried all the electrics, how come the CCTV camera was still powered up filming it all and the recording machine still working? Selective power outage obviously! tramp_about_town
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Mon 7 Jan 13

anigel says...

Arjay wrote:
anigel wrote:
It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed.

Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike.
I can't see a modern fire alarm system, installed to monitor a multi million pound public building relying on a locally powered auto dialler. Too risky, for the reasons already outlined.
It would be amazing if there wasn't a permanently active link, which would automatically indicate a serious fault condition in the event of total link failure.

A simple internet connection, via a standard telephone line, would send a constant stream of data on the system status. A TOTAL loss of data would be seen as a SERIOUS fault condition, requiring immediate attention.

If that kind of system was not in place, for an unmanned public site of this value, than heads should roll.....
Apparently current standards do insist on a constant connection to the monitoring location and as this was a fairly recent build, it should conform to those standards, So please ignore what I was saying about the connection
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]anigel[/bold] wrote: It wouldn't matter if there was a battery backup to the fire alarm system as it was fried by the lightning strike so there was nothing to use the power from the battery assuming of course the battery itself wouldn't have exploded under the current of the lightening strike, also they tend to use a dialler to notify the alarm company rather than a permanently connected wire all the way from the alarm to the monitoring company. Cant dial a telephone number if the entire alarm system has been destroyed. Surely the question that should be being asked is why lightning conductors which were supposedly installed were not up to the job they are designed for, ie protecting a building in the event of a lightning strike.[/p][/quote]I can't see a modern fire alarm system, installed to monitor a multi million pound public building relying on a locally powered auto dialler. Too risky, for the reasons already outlined. It would be amazing if there wasn't a permanently active link, which would automatically indicate a serious fault condition in the event of total link failure. A simple internet connection, via a standard telephone line, would send a constant stream of data on the system status. A TOTAL loss of data would be seen as a SERIOUS fault condition, requiring immediate attention. If that kind of system was not in place, for an unmanned public site of this value, than heads should roll.....[/p][/quote]Apparently current standards do insist on a constant connection to the monitoring location and as this was a fairly recent build, it should conform to those standards, So please ignore what I was saying about the connection anigel
  • Score: 0

7:33pm Mon 7 Jan 13

anigel says...

tramp_about_town wrote:
I'm surprised the insurance company isn't trying to wriggle out of paying up due to being an Act of God or some other reason such as alarm monitoring or lack of maybe, inadequate fire containment or internal fire doors propped open allowing the fire to spread

Perhaps they are which is why the big cheeses have started squirming and finger pointing!

Just a thought but if the lightning strike had fried all the electrics, how come the CCTV camera was still powered up filming it all and the recording machine still working?

Selective power outage obviously!
In the footage I saw from the CCTV camera it appeared that the camera was located in or on a different building that was not hit by lightning
[quote][p][bold]tramp_about_town[/bold] wrote: I'm surprised the insurance company isn't trying to wriggle out of paying up due to being an Act of God or some other reason such as alarm monitoring or lack of maybe, inadequate fire containment or internal fire doors propped open allowing the fire to spread Perhaps they are which is why the big cheeses have started squirming and finger pointing! Just a thought but if the lightning strike had fried all the electrics, how come the CCTV camera was still powered up filming it all and the recording machine still working? Selective power outage obviously![/p][/quote]In the footage I saw from the CCTV camera it appeared that the camera was located in or on a different building that was not hit by lightning anigel
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Letcommonsenseprevail says...

1) electrical potential builds up in storm cloud.
2) potential discharges into school.
3) school catches fire.

There, that's several tens of thousands of pounds of tax payers money saved from a complete waste of time enquiry.
1) electrical potential builds up in storm cloud. 2) potential discharges into school. 3) school catches fire. There, that's several tens of thousands of pounds of tax payers money saved from a complete waste of time enquiry. Letcommonsenseprevail
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Mon 7 Jan 13

tramp_about_town says...

alan mdransfield wrote:
The comments about water pressure is nonsense because a large water storage tank "should" have been designed and built then the fire service doesn't rely on main water pressure .
From photographs available fire retardent insulations boards were NOT installed in the roof,hence, the RAPID spread of the fire.
It would appear to me that the Lightning Protection System (LPS)was installed sub-standard, which, doesn't surprise me, as it is common practice here in Exeter.
I am currently awaiting an Upper tribunal decision of 6 PFI school in Exeter which ALSO have sloppy LPS.
No doubt the taxpayers will pick-up the bill for any rebuild.
By the grace of god nobody was killed or injured and it is only a matter of time before we have body bags are used somewhere in the country.
It's because it was the wrong type of lightning and the water available was also the wrong type much like earlier last year it was the wrong type of rain to avert a drought!
[quote][p][bold]alan mdransfield[/bold] wrote: The comments about water pressure is nonsense because a large water storage tank "should" have been designed and built then the fire service doesn't rely on main water pressure . From photographs available fire retardent insulations boards were NOT installed in the roof,hence, the RAPID spread of the fire. It would appear to me that the Lightning Protection System (LPS)was installed sub-standard, which, doesn't surprise me, as it is common practice here in Exeter. I am currently awaiting an Upper tribunal decision of 6 PFI school in Exeter which ALSO have sloppy LPS. No doubt the taxpayers will pick-up the bill for any rebuild. By the grace of god nobody was killed or injured and it is only a matter of time before we have body bags are used somewhere in the country.[/p][/quote]It's because it was the wrong type of lightning and the water available was also the wrong type much like earlier last year it was the wrong type of rain to avert a drought! tramp_about_town
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Mon 7 Jan 13

BIGTONE says...

Arjay wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
Arjay wrote:
It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition?
Bit fundamental really.
There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case......
The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome.

I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do.
To not include that simple function was just crazy!!
The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.
I'm sorry, but that's just not true.
All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard.
And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal.

As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault.
The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure.

In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'.

It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously....
99% of monitoring of fire is carried by a nominated programmed fire zone via a monitored intruder panel as there is not much call for a stand alone dedicated monitored fire panel,they usually work hand in hand. Unless the intruder panel has a GSM backup,in the event of mains fail/line fail,the monitoring company will report this condition to the first key holder of the premises and not the relevant authorities under the direction of APCO due to instability of false alarm situations of power/phone line
outages.
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition? Bit fundamental really. There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case...... The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome. I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do. To not include that simple function was just crazy!![/p][/quote]The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.[/p][/quote]I'm sorry, but that's just not true. All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard. And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal. As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault. The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure. In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'. It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously....[/p][/quote]99% of monitoring of fire is carried by a nominated programmed fire zone via a monitored intruder panel as there is not much call for a stand alone dedicated monitored fire panel,they usually work hand in hand. Unless the intruder panel has a GSM backup,in the event of mains fail/line fail,the monitoring company will report this condition to the first key holder of the premises and not the relevant authorities under the direction of APCO due to instability of false alarm situations of power/phone line outages. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Mon 7 Jan 13

tramp_about_town says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Arjay wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
Arjay wrote:
It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition?
Bit fundamental really.
There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case......
The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome.

I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do.
To not include that simple function was just crazy!!
The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.
I'm sorry, but that's just not true.
All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard.
And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal.

As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault.
The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure.

In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'.

It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously....
99% of monitoring of fire is carried by a nominated programmed fire zone via a monitored intruder panel as there is not much call for a stand alone dedicated monitored fire panel,they usually work hand in hand. Unless the intruder panel has a GSM backup,in the event of mains fail/line fail,the monitoring company will report this condition to the first key holder of the premises and not the relevant authorities under the direction of APCO due to instability of false alarm situations of power/phone line
outages.
I think that in order to comply with BS5839 a separate connection is needed and therefore will not be channeled through the intruder system.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: It really is not difficult, technically, to ensure that the complete failure of a fire alarm monitor signal, by it's monitoring station, is detected as an alarm condition? Bit fundamental really. There seems to be some debate as to whether an automatic sprinkler system would have made much difference in this case...... The fire service being alerted by the failure of the alarm system, in less time than the hour it actually took, could have made a huge difference to the outcome. I really cannot believe that the fire alarm system link was not a monitored signal. It would have cost very little to do. To not include that simple function was just crazy!![/p][/quote]The alarm system was monitored so in the event of mains failure it would have flagged up in the monitoring station as a mains fail and not an alarm condition. The only way a monitoring station can confirm a fire condition out of normal hours,is to contact site and verify.In this case nobody was available to verify.[/p][/quote]I'm sorry, but that's just not true. All modern fire alarms need to conform to at least BS5839, and many to the newer EN54 standard. And those standards insist on a monitor status that include total loss of signal. As one of the post above mentions, All fire alarms use battery back up, so that in the event of a mains failure, the battery support supply will take over, and advise via the monitoring link that there is a power supply fault. The reverse is also true -- so that a failure of the monitored battery supply is also reported as a failure. In the event of BOTH power supplies failing (i.e. a total system failure, as in this case) then it a fundamental requirement that the loss of signal is automatically reported as a serious fault condition ... normally so serious as to be treat as a valid 'call'. It is nonsense for a monitored fire alarm system to simply ignore the total loss of monitor signal. Obviously....[/p][/quote]99% of monitoring of fire is carried by a nominated programmed fire zone via a monitored intruder panel as there is not much call for a stand alone dedicated monitored fire panel,they usually work hand in hand. Unless the intruder panel has a GSM backup,in the event of mains fail/line fail,the monitoring company will report this condition to the first key holder of the premises and not the relevant authorities under the direction of APCO due to instability of false alarm situations of power/phone line outages.[/p][/quote]I think that in order to comply with BS5839 a separate connection is needed and therefore will not be channeled through the intruder system. tramp_about_town
  • Score: 0

9:49pm Mon 7 Jan 13

BIGTONE says...

It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply.
It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

10:17pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Arjay says...

BIGTONE wrote:
It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply.
Which part of BS5839 allows for a remote status indication facility to be monitored through an intruder system --and does that intruder system itself then have to be BS5839 compliant itself?.....
I've never hard of that option before, and it does surprise me a little -- but I must confess I haven't read all the parts of BS5839 - only Pts. 1,4,8 and 9.

Such a low intregrity fire alarm monitor system, for such a high value, unmanned building seems a little incongruous?...

...I'll bet it won't happen again when the new building is finished!
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply.[/p][/quote]Which part of BS5839 allows for a remote status indication facility to be monitored through an intruder system --and does that intruder system itself then have to be BS5839 compliant itself?..... I've never hard of that option before, and it does surprise me a little -- but I must confess I haven't read all the parts of BS5839 - only Pts. 1,4,8 and 9. Such a low intregrity fire alarm monitor system, for such a high value, unmanned building seems a little incongruous?... ...I'll bet it won't happen again when the new building is finished! Arjay
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Yankee1 says...

Considering that a government 'new school' in Swanage will be built in well under 12 months indicates that they should be able to have this wonderful facility replaced by the end of 2013.

Or...are priorities elsewhere?
Considering that a government 'new school' in Swanage will be built in well under 12 months indicates that they should be able to have this wonderful facility replaced by the end of 2013. Or...are priorities elsewhere? Yankee1
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Bob Turner says...

Fred Drane, Liberal Democrat county councillor for the area, said: “Dorset County Council should have an internal inquiry, then if members of the Liberal Democrat group are not happy with it, we want it to go public.
Why an internal inquiry first before deciding if any possible issues are palatable enough for the public arena? The coalition claim to be big on accountability and transparency so here is an ideal opportunity for Dorset County Council to put their words into action and implement a full Public Inquiry.
Fred Drane, Liberal Democrat county councillor for the area, said: “Dorset County Council should have an internal inquiry, then if members of the Liberal Democrat group are not happy with it, we want it to go public. Why an internal inquiry first before deciding if any possible issues are palatable enough for the public arena? The coalition claim to be big on accountability and transparency so here is an ideal opportunity for Dorset County Council to put their words into action and implement a full Public Inquiry. Bob Turner
  • Score: 0

7:49am Tue 8 Jan 13

alan mdransfield says...

Dorset County Council are no different to most other PA's when it come to releasing Public Data, i.e. they are backward.The FOIA 2000 was brought in to improve the Transparency,Account
ability and Security(TAS) but TAS must been seen to be working.In the event TAS is not seen to be working,then, in all probability,is AINT working.
The Lib Dems are calling for an inquiry into this fire which is all well and good but it was the Lib Dems who built a brand new school smack bang on top of Landfill Site in Stockport and it was the Lib Dems who built 6PFI schools in Exeter at the cost of £400 million pond which are unfit for purpose.The latter being the current subject to an Upper Tribunal FOI decision awaited.
No doubt the taxpayer will pick up the tab for this abortion of school design.
The Dorset Fire authority have informed me that the school was provisioned with adequate Lightning Protection System. How can it been "ADEQUATE" when lightning burnt the school down.???!!
You will be AMAZED how many public buildings in the South West have NOT been provisioned with Lightning Protection. The COE are one of the biggest offenders but if you check out their churches, MOST of them have been fitted with adequate LPS??
Dorset County Council are no different to most other PA's when it come to releasing Public Data, i.e. they are backward.The FOIA 2000 was brought in to improve the Transparency,Account ability and Security(TAS) but TAS must been seen to be working.In the event TAS is not seen to be working,then, in all probability,is AINT working. The Lib Dems are calling for an inquiry into this fire which is all well and good but it was the Lib Dems who built a brand new school smack bang on top of Landfill Site in Stockport and it was the Lib Dems who built 6PFI schools in Exeter at the cost of £400 million pond which are unfit for purpose.The latter being the current subject to an Upper Tribunal FOI decision awaited. No doubt the taxpayer will pick up the tab for this abortion of school design. The Dorset Fire authority have informed me that the school was provisioned with adequate Lightning Protection System. How can it been "ADEQUATE" when lightning burnt the school down.???!! You will be AMAZED how many public buildings in the South West have NOT been provisioned with Lightning Protection. The COE are one of the biggest offenders but if you check out their churches, MOST of them have been fitted with adequate LPS?? alan mdransfield
  • Score: 0

8:29am Tue 8 Jan 13

alan mdransfield says...

These are the 4 basic principals of the Lightning Protection regulation of BS_EN62305/2008.
They are
BS EN 62305-1 General principles - this provides the basic characteristics of an effective lightning protection system in accordance with the rest of the standards.

BS EN 62305-2 Risk management - details the wider considerations of lightning strikes such as danger to life, possible data loss, and cultural impacts if heritage buildings are damaged. Secondary economic implications of loss of services in the wake of lightning strikes are also analysed.

BS EN 62305-3 Physical damage to structures and life hazard - describes the basic categories of protection from lightning according to risk, and provides detailed guidance for an engineer designing a lightning protection system.

BS EN 62305-4 Electrical and electronic systems within structures - provides updated information and guidance for the protection of the sensitive electronic equipment typical in modern buildings, including servers and wired networks. A zoning system is recommended to help protect such equipment from the primary and secondary effects of lightning strikes.

Lets see what the experts come up with shall we.
The new John Lewis store in Exeter is just one of the MANY buildings and structures which have NOT been provisioned with adequate lightning protection.
Its only a matter of time before Body Bags are lined up on the pavement??!!
These are the 4 basic principals of the Lightning Protection regulation of BS_EN62305/2008. They are BS EN 62305-1 General principles - this provides the basic characteristics of an effective lightning protection system in accordance with the rest of the standards. BS EN 62305-2 Risk management - details the wider considerations of lightning strikes such as danger to life, possible data loss, and cultural impacts if heritage buildings are damaged. Secondary economic implications of loss of services in the wake of lightning strikes are also analysed. BS EN 62305-3 Physical damage to structures and life hazard - describes the basic categories of protection from lightning according to risk, and provides detailed guidance for an engineer designing a lightning protection system. BS EN 62305-4 Electrical and electronic systems within structures - provides updated information and guidance for the protection of the sensitive electronic equipment typical in modern buildings, including servers and wired networks. A zoning system is recommended to help protect such equipment from the primary and secondary effects of lightning strikes. Lets see what the experts come up with shall we. The new John Lewis store in Exeter is just one of the MANY buildings and structures which have NOT been provisioned with adequate lightning protection. Its only a matter of time before Body Bags are lined up on the pavement??!! alan mdransfield
  • Score: 0

9:36am Tue 8 Jan 13

BIGTONE says...

Arjay wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply.
Which part of BS5839 allows for a remote status indication facility to be monitored through an intruder system --and does that intruder system itself then have to be BS5839 compliant itself?.....
I've never hard of that option before, and it does surprise me a little -- but I must confess I haven't read all the parts of BS5839 - only Pts. 1,4,8 and 9.

Such a low intregrity fire alarm monitor system, for such a high value, unmanned building seems a little incongruous?...

...I'll bet it won't happen again when the new building is finished!
I agree it probably won't happen again,hopefully not. Fire protection is a contentious subject especially in the eyes of insurance companies. What one insurer will insist on another won't. Insurance companies only see fire alarms as life saving devices when people are occupying the building.if the building is classed as a low risk when not occupied they seem less interested as to what might happen to the building. A good example is a well known high street building society. They have audible only fire systems in all their branches. They obviously have no concern as to what may happen after hours and the insurers are happy.
[quote][p][bold]Arjay[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: It all depends on what the fire risk assessment has categorised the fire system and risk as to what parts of BS5839 will apply.[/p][/quote]Which part of BS5839 allows for a remote status indication facility to be monitored through an intruder system --and does that intruder system itself then have to be BS5839 compliant itself?..... I've never hard of that option before, and it does surprise me a little -- but I must confess I haven't read all the parts of BS5839 - only Pts. 1,4,8 and 9. Such a low intregrity fire alarm monitor system, for such a high value, unmanned building seems a little incongruous?... ...I'll bet it won't happen again when the new building is finished![/p][/quote]I agree it probably won't happen again,hopefully not. Fire protection is a contentious subject especially in the eyes of insurance companies. What one insurer will insist on another won't. Insurance companies only see fire alarms as life saving devices when people are occupying the building.if the building is classed as a low risk when not occupied they seem less interested as to what might happen to the building. A good example is a well known high street building society. They have audible only fire systems in all their branches. They obviously have no concern as to what may happen after hours and the insurers are happy. BIGTONE
  • Score: 0

11:29am Tue 8 Jan 13

CourtOffside says...

The fire service would have arrived more quickly if they'd have known where the school actually was instead of driving round in circles looking for it.
The fire service would have arrived more quickly if they'd have known where the school actually was instead of driving round in circles looking for it. CourtOffside
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Arjay says...

CourtOffside wrote:
The fire service would have arrived more quickly if they'd have known where the school actually was instead of driving round in circles looking for it.
Although I can understand that your average fire engine driver may not necessarily have a degree in astro navigation, I'm guessing he (or she?) could probably manage to enter ' BH16 6JD' into the sat nav.......just to give them an idea of where to go?....
[quote][p][bold]CourtOffside[/bold] wrote: The fire service would have arrived more quickly if they'd have known where the school actually was instead of driving round in circles looking for it.[/p][/quote]Although I can understand that your average fire engine driver may not necessarily have a degree in astro navigation, I'm guessing he (or she?) could probably manage to enter ' BH16 6JD' into the sat nav.......just to give them an idea of where to go?.... Arjay
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Tue 8 Jan 13

chiefwolf2 says...

Flipping tipical Lib Dems... always checking and wanting answers like some frustrated ex detective... why do they always have to poke around?? Trying too hard to please the "busy bodies" of society to gain votes!?.... Of course they are..........
Lib Dems seem to waste so much tax payers money by asking for investigation into everything when it doesn't make a blind bit of difference on the outcome..... I know.... I used to work for a local authority!
Flipping tipical Lib Dems... always checking and wanting answers like some frustrated ex detective... why do they always have to poke around?? Trying too hard to please the "busy bodies" of society to gain votes!?.... Of course they are.......... Lib Dems seem to waste so much tax payers money by asking for investigation into everything when it doesn't make a blind bit of difference on the outcome..... I know.... I used to work for a local authority! chiefwolf2
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Wed 9 Jan 13

STudor says...

In his filmed interviews with the Echo, the Headteacher seemed very keen to have an immediate demolition. Having seen millions of pounds go up in smoke, there must be a proper enquiry so DCC can learn lessons.

The rebuilding of Lytchett after the 2000 fire took so long and cost so much because the Head was obsessed with aesthetics such as his office's hand printed wallpaper flown in from Canada. Pity he wasn't as interested in fire prevention and student safety.
In his filmed interviews with the Echo, the Headteacher seemed very keen to have an immediate demolition. Having seen millions of pounds go up in smoke, there must be a proper enquiry so DCC can learn lessons. The rebuilding of Lytchett after the 2000 fire took so long and cost so much because the Head was obsessed with aesthetics such as his office's hand printed wallpaper flown in from Canada. Pity he wasn't as interested in fire prevention and student safety. STudor
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree