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The Irish Times reports that a fire in a car park in Cork has destroyed up to 60 cars. The fire started in a car in the Douglas Village shopping centre at about 18:30 on 31 August. The owner raised the alarm but firefighters were unable to prevent fire spread to other vehicles. Structural steel beams warped causing serious structural damage to the five storey building. About 130 cars remain in the car park and are being lifted out because the access ramps were damaged in the fire. Damage is estimated in the many millions of Euros and the shopping centre is closed.

Few above ground car parks are protected with sprinkler systems. This is because these fires cause few injuries. Fortunately nobody was injured in the Cork fire. Yet such incidents show that fire readily spreads from one car to the next and that the resulting damage is disproportionate. Fire tests and anecdotal real fires have proven that sprinklers can prevent fire spread, so that only car is damaged.

For more details as well as photos of the fire and damage see the Irish Times

Subsequently the Irish Examiner has reported that Ann Doherty, the chief executive of Cork City Council, has asked Cork City Fire Brigade to examine the city’s two publicly-owned car parks and consier whether sprinklers should be retrofitted.