Burning insulation caused Olympic site fire
ODA says ignition of insulation material caused last week’s fire and suspends “hot working” during demolition of buildings
“Hot working” during demolition of buildings on the Olympics site has been suspended pending a review of procedures, following the fire in a disused warehouse last week.
Demolition is being undertaken strictly by “cold work” processes after the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said the fire at Unit 35, Waterden Road was caused by the ignition of insulation material within the walled cavity of the building during demolition work.
The material caught fire while steel piping was being cut using an oxy-acetylene torch.
The ODA has confirmed the fire was an accident and there were no suspicious circumstances.
Although the building contained asbestos, the substance has not been detected in the air around the building during or after the fire or in dust and debris following the direction of the smoke plume.
ODA chief executive David Higgins said: “These findings confirm initial indications both that the fire was caused by accident while the warehouse was prepared for demolition and that public health was not put at risk. It also recognises that the site staff, emergency services and other bodies worked quickly and effectively together in their response to the fire. However this was a serious incident and we are instigating a thorough review of our stringent health and safety procedures as a result.”
During the cutting process, polystyrene insulation ignited and fire spread rapidly within wall and roof cavities within the building. Initial attempts to douse the fire failed and the building was evacuated and the emergency services called. All safety response procedures were followed in full and there were no injuries.