@2009Fire and the Build EnvironmentIntroduction Fire tragedies are among the most devastating accidents in the way they are hard to curtail and in the manner in which they cause property annihilation and loss of human life. Major building fires world over have been responsible for loss of life and millions of dollars in property destruction. The greatest challenge is that most of these building fires occur without warning in most cases their depiction and control is usually very hard. This in turn makes investigation efforts even harder in their attempts of ascertaining the causes of such fires.
To curb this carnage, Fire expert agencies have been set up (in different countries) fully equipped with relevant equipment and experts with the responsibility of establishing the causes of fire accidents and subsequently formulating safety measures that will help prevent re-occurrence of such fire accidents in times to come. Fire expert agencies and professionals detail various safety measures to be put in place during construction of buildings aimed at reducing and protecting buildings from fire catastrophes. To many, the one single determinant of the damage caused by fire catastrophes on buildings squarely lies on the presence (or absence) of these safety measures on such buildings.
This paper examines and details building fires in the last 25 years with specific reference to Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland. Building Fires in ScotlandThere was a huge fire in Peckham in south East London on 26th November 2009 which forced over 150 people to vacate their homes as it engulfed a number of adjoining flats in the vicinity (See appendix 1). Report by the London Brigade indicated that the inferno begun at around 0430 and quickly spread to the nearby flats covering an area approximated to be the size of a pitch.
Evacuation efforts for the residents in the flats nearby were doubled given the threat the nature of contents on some of these flats posed. One witness said that one of the buildings within the Carisbrooke Gardens was packed with lots of gas cylinders which were thought to have aided the fast spread of the fire (Wardrop 2009). Given the involvement of explosive gas cylinders, efforts by the firefighters to contain the fire and eventually put it out appeared futile for the better part of the incident.
It required the efforts of over a hundred and fifty firefighters who were called from various regions to come lend a hand in the putting out of this inferno. The intensity of the raging fire necessitated efforts from the Metropolitan police to come and help reinforce firefighting efforts by erecting over thirty different fire pumps around the building. These rescue efforts led to closing of some roads in the region since the police used these areas for offering first aid for minor injuries and also to evacuate residents to safer grounds.
This incident terribly shocked the residents according to the local Member of Parliament who reiterated that the there was great danger in having so many gas cylinders in one place without elaborate measures to curb against fire tragedies (Wardrop 2009). This notwithstanding however, not even the scorching intense heat from the inferno caused any major injuries to the residents. There was not a single casualty who succumbed during the incident and the precision and effectiveness of the rescue efforts made it possible to restore calm among the residents (Stothart 2009).