Firefighters in South Yorkshire have tackled more than 500 blazes in business premises over the last three years, new figures reveal.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue released the figure to coincide with a national awareness-raising week on the value of sprinkler systems.
Major fires dealt with include the blaze at online fashion retailer Asos’s distribution centre in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, last June, which cost the firm £30 million in lost sales.
There were sprinkler systems in the warehouse, which prevented flames destroying the entire building.
And the following month a recycling charity working with adults with learning disabilities lost a building when a blaze took hold of around 20 tonnes of plastic.
At the height of the blaze at Reclaim in Attercliffe a plume of smoke was visible for at least 20 miles.
Currently, only commercial premises greater than 20,000m2 must have sprinkler systems installed.
The county’s fire service is backing a national campaign for the threshold to be lowered.
Technical fire safety manager Amy Jenkinson said: “A sprinkler system can quickly suppress a fire before it gets out of control.
“When you consider the huge costs associated with a commercial premise fire such as rebuilding, relocation, loss of equipment, stock and trading, it seems like an obvious move to install a sprinkler system, but many businesses still don’t.”
The fire service led a drive for sprinklers to be installed in residential properties in a block of flats in Gleadless in 2011 after a blaze in a similar block in London in 2009, which spread through the building killing six people.
It says fires at business premises can tie up crews for hours and sprinklers are the most effective way of suppressing or extinguishing flames before crews arrive.
Fire chiefs are working on a scheme with Sheffield Council to fit sprinkler systems in hundreds of social housing properties across the city.