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Fire Risk – Mill Fires

Posted on 28th March 2018 by Steve Haines

The loss of mills due to fire, such as Ray Mill in Stalybridge, is not only a massive financial cost to insurers and owners and the many companies that rely on them for affordable business premises, but also are a blow to the region’s industrial heritage.

In their heyday these buildings were the cornerstone of the region’s economy and employed tens of thousands of workers from the local communities that grew around them. Oldham spun more cotton than France and Germany combined.

Industrial decline meant that innovative rehabilitation schemes were needed to bring mill premises back into service. Unfortunately, unlike our forefathers, property owners often lack the wisdom of restoring and maintaining sprinkler installations in these buildings that might otherwise save them.

Clearly our forefathers knew a thing or two when it came to fire protection.

Mills often had reservoirs or mill lodges for water supplies and elevated tanks to serve internal range pipes that could protect the building in the event of a fire. Essentially they were a better risk in yesteryear than often many of them are now.

Helping you get the best from your fire protection

Our experience has been in guiding mill owners to get the best out of any fire protection they have. Certainly we have persuaded owners to undertake all necessary maintenance such as tank inspections and routine servicing of pumps and equipment.

The cost is easily justified when you consider the enormous cost of losing a mill in a fire and the potential minefield of insurance policy wording that may even result in the repudiation of a claim.

The cause of the fire referred to above may be due to any one of a number of causes including; arson, electrical, uncontrolled hot work, badly managed portable heating or even smoking. Only time will tell.

Investing in existing and/or new sprinkler installations can help to prevent the widespread destruction that fire can cause and can provide reassurance to building owners, managers and business residents.

At Caunce O’Hara we partner with a number of fire protection companies and are keen to advise our new and existing clients on every aspect of fire protection.

For further information please contact our risk manager stevehaines@caunceohara.co.uk

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