White Hart Lane Fire Disaster – how Karsons Consulting helped to project manage the clear up and safety operations

25-October-2017 16:31
in General
by Admin

On September 18th, a huge fire struck a warehouse storage unit on White Hart Lane, north London, about a mile from the former ground of premiership football club Tottenham Hotspurs.

Twenty-five fire engines were sent to fight the blaze, with 140 firefighters tackling the fire at its peak. Luckily there were no serious injuries with only one person taken to hospital for minor injuries and burns.

During the following days as the fire subsided, Karsons Consulting were contacted to step in as project managers to assess the damage. As this work is ongoing, the following blog follows our initial assessment and tasks undertaken.

The site mainly comprises warehouses, storage facilities and offices within the building closest to the main entrance gate on White Hart Lane. The building was constructed in different blocks, from the oldest part (namely Blocks C, D, E and F), to the newer part (Blocks A and B). We were advised that the fire started at the back of the property where the damages were most severe.

Blocks C, D, E and F experienced the worst damage with most buildings burned to rubble, while those that remained standing had suffered significant structural damage. The extent of the structural impact is presently being reviewed by our team.

The fire brigade left the site on September 26th and reported to the police that from their perspective the cause of the fire was still unknown. The site was then under the control of the police who left the next day and handed the site to us at Karsons Consulting.

As project managers, we were appointed to implement safety throughout the site and ensure that the dangerous areas could not be accessed by the public. There were three major concerns regarding the site:

  1. Contamination by asbestosis
  2. Contamination by fuel and other COSHH substances
  3. The structural integrity of the buildings that have not fallen.

To ensure the safety of the premises and people, we have commissioned 24/7 security on site with patrol dogs, a security hut with a sign-in process system for only authorised personnel to enter the site and welfare facilities for the security team. We have also commissioned the support of a CDM advisor who will support us with health and safety advice during the project.

After this initial setting up phase, Karsons Consulting has commissioned a specialist testing of asbestos throughout the site, including air quality testing. The following is the intended course of action we will follow:

Asbestos Management; review the already taken asbestos and air quality samples and advise on contamination of the various areas. Several vehicles on site will need to be removed, but will only be subject to swab tests demonstrating that their surfaces are not contaminated.

Testing; the office building at the front of the site is still in use and it is imperative that all electrical, fire and emergency lighting services are tested and certified to ensure that all services are demonstrated to be safe for occupancy, especially when the mains power is re-connected from the temporary generator.

Potential Reinstatement; we will undertake a detailed and intrusive inspection of the structural, fabric, building services and fire services integrity to ascertain if Block A and B may be retained. Our report will also consider the points of contamination detailed above.

A further point of consideration is the contamination of the ground, potentially caused by the fire relating to the site storage of fuel. Again, further testing is required, including the general condition of the drainage system following the gallons of water used by the fire brigade.

Throughout the initial phase of our work, the safety of the site and the occupants has been our main priority. The next phase of work will involve detailed planning with feasibility/technical studies to advise on the future of the site.

We will be updating this blog following the next phase of work on the project.