Wharfedale Hospital, 5th July 2003

This is the first recorded fire in a building clad in LPCB approved PIR panels. This fire occurred in an extension to the hospital under construction. An arsonist ignited a solvent based adhesive poured over a large pile of combustible building materials that was stored in the ground floor of the facility. The ground floor was essentially open with the external cladding starting at the first floor level.

Kingspan commissioned Tenos to perform an independent investigation into the fire. This involved a visit to site and discussions with West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. A detailed report is available.

The Tenos report concludes - “In spite of significant heat generated by the fire (sufficient to damage the intumescent coating and distort the steel beams); the orientation of the cladding panels directly above the fire; and the fact that the fire stopping was not in place; the cores of the panels as evidenced by photograph 2, 3 and 4 did not ignite; did not promote fire spread within the core or to the eaves and did not significantly contribute to the products of combustion.”

These photographs provide a record of the damage and include some explanatory comments.

Side of the building exposed to direct flame impingement and smoke/heat damage from the ground floor. It is clear that the PIR core has not ignited and has played no role in the fire.

The side of the building that experienced a bigger fire attack.

Flames appear to have rise to the eaves – a height of approximately 10 metres. The external steel sheet has bowed and delaminated in the areas of flame impingement – however, there is no indication the fire has spread through the cladding.

Sections were cut out of the short panels in the middle of this photograph in order to inspect the steel column behind the panels. The next photograph shows this more clearly.

Close-up of the inspection holes cut in the panel after the fire. The insulation core can be seen clearly and looks to be virtually unaffected by the direct flame impingement on the outer steel facing. The steel column was not affected.

A panel that has been exposed to direct flame impingement on the outer sheet. The metal has been pulled away by contractors to inspect the PIR core. It is clear that the insulation core has been almost unaffected by the fire. Only light charring can be seen.