Covered Market case study

Oxford’s historic Covered Market saved by sprinkler system

The Covered Market is an iconic complex dating back to the 1770’s right in the heart of Oxford and is a series of interconnecting avenues with over 40 traders operating shops and restaurants. It is owned and operated by Oxford City Council. 

Some years ago, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service worked very closely with Oxford City Council, to highlight the fire potential within this building, the fire risks posed and the likely significant property loss, should a fire occur, together with the rigorous promotion of the benefits that could be offered by them installing an automatic suppression system. This resulted in a fully functioning fire sprinkler system being installed throughout the site.

At 8.15am on Monday 28 December 2015, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service responded to a fire in the Covered Market in Oxford City Centre.

The fire crews were met by an Oxford City Council Manager and a Sprinkler Engineer, who had been called due to the earlier activation of the sprinkler system installed within the building. After being escorted to the scene of the fire, crews discovered that a fire had started in a café (electrical causes) and had been completely extinguished by the operation of a single sprinkler head, thus avoiding a potentially serious fire and loss of business. 

Without a fire suppression system a fire of this nature could potentially have devastated a large section of central Oxford with obvious implications for the businesses and employees who rely on this site and surrounding areas.