Fire Risk Assessment

Channel Tunnel Mist

As part of a series of measures following the Channel Tunnel fire in 2008, Eurotunnel has completed a full scale test of a new fire protection system using water mist.

The new procedures – which are subject to regulatory approval – will see the introduction of two water mist or ‘SAFE’ stations in each of the tunnel’s two bores. Each 870m long station will be equipped with a water mist system, designed to penetrate the lattice work surround of freight wagons and suppress any fire.

In the event of a fire on a freight wagon, the train would continue to the nearest water mist station, located approximately one third and two thirds along each bore. The suppression system would then be activated, while lorry drivers in the ‘passenger’ car of the train are evacuated into the service tunnel via existing cross passages, which are situated at intervals of approximately 350m throughout the tunnel. Heat detectors along the length of the 'station' will be used to pinpoint the location of the fire and fine tune the application of water mist, as well as help firefighter intervention.

The introduction of the water mist systems – designed for freight trains only – will be accompanied by new procedures where firefighters will approach the train on fire from both ends, closing in on the fire as they do so.

Eurotunnel says the water mist stations are designed primarily to minimise damage to the rolling stock and tunnel infrastructure. The fire in 2008 destroyed 1km of tunnel and led to disruption of services for six months.

The full scale fire tests took place at an undisclosed tunnel in Spain on 7 and 9 April in conjunction with water mist system manufacturer Fogtec. Eurotunnel said test fires reached at least 100MW and 150MW and demonstrated the efficacy of the water mist system to contain the fire, while improving access for firefighters and emergency services.

“A system such as this aids in the evacuation of people and enables the rescue services to work with increased speed and safety,” said Dirk Sprakel, managing director of Fogtec. “Due to the ability to control the fire and the minimal amount of water used, structural damage is considerably reduced.” Source: Info4Fire

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