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Health and Safety Liverpool fire guts more than a thousand cars

SUNDAY’S fire that consumed more than a thousand vehicles in a multi-storey car park could have been stopped if sprinklers had been fitted, Liverpool’s chief fire officer said yesterday.

Such a system would have given crews a “much better” chance of stopping the fire that engulfed seven floors of the council-owned car park after a Land Rover burst into flames, according to Dan Stephens of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

Motorists abandoned their cars, 4,000 people were evacuated from the neighbouring Echo Arena, where a horse show was being held, and nearby residents and hotel guests fled as 12 fire engines and aerial ladders arrived at the scene at about 4.40pm on New Year’s Eve.

Mr Stephens said the temperature of the fire had reached between 800°C and 1,000°C and the flames spread so quickly that crews were not able to control them.

He said: “Given the intensity of the fire, given some of the fire incidents we've seen over the past 12 months, I think the fact that no-one was injured here and there's been no fatalities... I think that's a very good outcome indeed."

“I believe a sprinkler system would certainly have suppressed the fire, it would definitely have limited the spread and given us a much better opportunity to put the fire out before it spread to the extent it did.”

London’s fire commissioner Dany Cotton and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have said in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster that sprinklers should be fitted in all high-rise blocks of social housing.

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