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Gaunt, J.E., 1965. PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF FIRES FOUGHT WITH 5 OR MORE JETS. Fire Research Notes 589
A preliminary investigation has been made of the reports of fires involving 5 or more jets in the period July 1962 - December 1963. There were 201 such fires in the second half of 1962 and 509 in 1963. The analysis indicates that there were delays in discovery of more than half the fires. The delays were due almost entirely to buildings in which the fires occurred being unoccupied at the time of the fires. There was also a tendency for the fires to occur between the hours of 9 and 12 p.m. i.e. late at night when there are few people around. If automatic detection systems had been installed and linked directly to the fire stations or combined with security patrols within the buildings, it is very likely that there would have been a considerable reduction in the size and consequently the cost of a large proportion of the fires. Where fire protection systems are installed it is important always to maintain them in working order. On several occasions where fires broke out, sprinkler systems, for example, had been shut down and drained. A high percentage (more than 50 per cent) of the fires were of unknown source of ignition which might be expected owing to the fact that the source of ignition cannot easily be traced for fires that are already large on discovery. Smoking materials were the most frequently reported known source of ignition. The value of compartmentation as an effective means of reducing spread was very apparent although the saving could have been very much greater had all doors been left in closed positions, when buildings were vacated. In many instances where doors had been left open there was evidence of bad housekeeping, the doors being propped open with piles of boxes etc. Persons were trapped in 5 per cent of the fires in 1963 and 20 people lost their lives.
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