The following incidents took place at the sites of major businesses in the UK between January and March 2019. Some recovered quickly. Others were irreversibly destroyed.
The Ivy Restaurant | Central Manchester
16:54 pm | Friday 4th January
Fire breaks out. The Ivy is engulfed in flames. The culprit, a faulty patio heater.
Four fire engines rush to the scene. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services take just 20 minutes to put out the blaze. No one is injured.
The Ivy, which has been open for less than three months, suffers major damage to its rooftop terrace. Miraculously, the restaurant re-opens two days later.
Ocado Warehouse | Andover
2:45 am | Tuesday 5th February
Flames engulf Ocado’s Andover warehouse. 20 fire trucks carrying 200 firefighters arrive on the scene. A three-tonne cylinder of toxic ammonia gas is at risk of exploding. 100 local residents are evacuated.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services fight the blaze all night. They bring the fire under control by Wednesday morning. Four firefighters are treated for smoke inhalation. The crew remain on site for a further two weeks.
Ocado’s share price drops by 6%. The fire wipes £1 billion from the company’s stock market value. The warehouse is destroyed. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
Tesla Showroom | Crawley
10:28 am | Saturday 2nd March
Black smoke billows over Crawley. A Tesla electric car dealership is on fire. Repeat explosions are heard coming from the building.
Eight fire trucks arrive on the scene. 50 firefighters take three hours to put out the blaze. No one is injured. Half the building is damaged.
The fire is not caused by Tesla cars, batteries or chargers. The true culprit, nobody knows.
What do these fires have in common?
They all happened in the first three months of 2019. And they all happened in the UK.
After that, they don’t have much in common. The fires started at different times of the day. They were in different parts of the country. And they happened to three very different businesses that have very different fire safety risks.
But The Ivy, Ocado and Tesla are similar in one way. They’re not immune to fire. No business is.
How would a fire affect your business? Would you reopen next week like The Ivy? Would you lose billions in value like Ocado? Or would you be like the 40% of businesses that never re-open after a disaster?
How to protect your business
By the time a fire starts, there is not much you can do. Your focus has to be on protecting your staff, customers and members of the public. After that, it’s up to fate.
What you can do is protect your business before the fire starts. A fire safety policy helps you prevent fires from starting and limit their impact if they do.
Don’t let your business go up in smoke. Download your sample health & safety policy statement and find out how to write fire safety policies that keep your staff and your business safe. Get my FREE policy statement