New photo shows how fire door saved Northampton museum from spreading blaze

A fire broke out at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in February - but a fire door stopped the blaze in its tracks.
A fire broke out at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in February - but a fire door stopped the blaze in its tracks.

A photo has shown how a fire door at a Northampton museum help stop a blaze that could have destroyed the historic building.

Three fire crews were needed in February this year when a fire broke out at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

The photo clearly shows the burnt insides of the office - but the walls beyond the fire door are clean and undamaged.

The photo clearly shows the burnt insides of the office - but the walls beyond the fire door are clean and undamaged.

There were fears the blaze could have spread to the rest of the building and undone the borough council's ongoing £7million renovation project.

But a new photo shared today has shown how a well-fitted fire door stopped the flames in their tracks and prevented further damage.

This incident involved a fire in a main, open plan office area, which was left black with smoke damage.

Due to the secure, closed fire doors, flames did not progress beyond this area and so damage was kept to a minimum.

The photo clearly shows a smoke blackened area in the main office and, beyond the fire doors, clean undamaged walls.

Community Protection Manager Scott Richards praised the installation of the fire doors, and pointed out that organisations can fail to properly consider the impact these features have in case of a fire.

He said: “We would encourage all businesses to think about their own premises and consider what a fire would do to their building. Think about whether you would be able to continue to operate if your offices or warehouses suffered a fire.

“Fire doors are so important because they protect areas such as staircases and other escape routes in buildings, such as care homes and hotels, making escape more possible. They also help to enclose high risk zones such as kitchens and boiler rooms. Their other purpose is to subdivide buildings to limit the spread of smoke and fire.”

“When looking at the area in which the museum fire was, in comparison to the inside of the neighbouring, smaller offices a few metres from the main area of fire, it can be clearly seen that these closed fire doors did their job properly.”

Fire doors which are inappropriately used or incorrectly fitted are common fire safety issues. Below is a list of common mistakes in fire door usage.

Common fire door issues:

- Doors wedged open, allowing potential smoke and fire to spread

- Door jamming on the frame

- Self-closing device failing to shut the door and needing adjustment

- Strips and seals around door becoming damaged or ineffective

- Damage to the door front or edge, affecting the door’s fitting

- Glazing becoming loose due to damage

- Glazing being replaced by glass which is not fire resistant

- Poorly fitted doors, perhaps fitted by someone unqualified

- Use of inappropriate materials, such as non-fire resistant wood

- Doors fitted in walls or next to glazing that isn’t fire resistant

- For more information about fire door safety, visit: https://www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/