A London restaurant fire which took 72 fire fighters from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to bring under control, after fire took hold in the kitchen’s extract ductwork, is a further demonstration of the need for TR/19 compliant ductwork fire safety cleaning, says Swiftclean Building Services.

Ten fire engines, manned by 72 firefighters, were called to a fire in Hounslow High Street which affected a ground floor restaurant and residential flats on the three floors above it.

According to LFB reports, the fire damaged part of the ground floor restaurant, part of the first floor and the restaurant’s extract ductwork system between the ground and fourth floors.

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Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service also attended the scene, but fortunately, no-one was seriously injured.

Gary Nicholls, MD of Swiftclean, said: “This is exactly the kind of incident that we dread when proprietors are unaware of the importance of effective and regular kitchen extract fire safety cleaning in compliance with TR/19.

“Unless the fat, oil and grease naturally created by cooking is adequately controlled with regular and thorough removal by trained technicians, the ductwork can become a channel for spreading fire to other premises; and occupants of flats above restaurants are particularly vulnerable.

The work of the London Fire Brigade in this case was outstanding and, thanks to these dedicated firefighters, mercifully, no-one was seriously hurt; but the potential risk to life in this case is sobering.”

Kitchen extract ductwork must by law be cleaned regularly, a requirement of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (RRFSO).

Compliance with TR/19, the leading guidance document issued by BESA (the Building & Engineering Services Association) meets these legal obligations and prevents the spread of fires caused by fat and grease deposits in restaurant and other commercial kitchen ductwork.

TR/19 requires grease levels not to exceed 200 microns as a mean, which in layman’s terms is half the thickness of a typical business card.

Failure to carry out this regular cleaning in compliance with TR/19 can result in an establishment’s insurance being compromised and may also result in prosecution for negligence by the owner or proprietor.