Zurich in the UK points to a “dramatic spike” in warehouse fires and in North America flags severe warehouse fire risks. Demand for large warehouses has increased fast with e-commerce, with taller buildings and more densely stored goods. UK Government statistics suggest that warehouse fires increased by nearly 50% in 2019/20 and by a further 20% the year after, with over 320 fires per year. Half of these did not have fire alarms and only 6% had sprinklers. Zurich UK is calling for sprinklers to be obligatory in warehouses over 20 000 m2. Zurich North America says that larger, taller, denser warehouses are elevating the severity of warehouse fires, with losses reaching 300 million US$ for one 56 000 m2 warehouse fire in 2020, and says new approaches are needed for sprinklers adapted to new warehouse pile and rack configurations, for firefighting techniques for robotised warehouses and to take into account the dangers of smoke emissions.
“Insurer Zurich issues warning over “dramatic spike” in warehouse fires”, Zurich UK, 29 November 2022 https://www.fsmatters.com/Zurich-issues-warning-on-rise-in-warehouse-fires
“Pandemic-led e-commerce boom could spark rise in warehouse blazes”, Zurich UK, 29 April 2021 https://www.zurich.co.uk/media-centre/pandemic-led-ecommerce-boom-could-spark-rise-in-warehouse-blazes
“Storage trends and new technology ignite fire risks for commercial warehouses”, Zurich North America, 28 July 2022 https://www.zurichna.com/knowledge/articles/2022/07/storage-trends-and-new-technology-ignite-fire-risks-for-commercial-warehouses