Sprinklers were said by Satffordshire F&RS to have played a key part in containing and suppressing a fire at the Pirelly tyre factory at Burton on Trent on 12 July.

Firemen were called to Pirelli Tyres, in Derby Road, at 2.29pm on Saturday after an industrial hopperfire-sprinkler caught light in the middle of the factory.

About 20 firefighters from Burton, a team from Tutbury and another from Lichfield wore breathing gear as they tried to bring the outbreak under control. They also used a thermal imaging camera to pinpoint fire ‘hotspots’ within the building. They spent five hours at the scene damping down the premises.

The fire was restricted to the hopper, which contained rubber products. No other damage was caused.

During a later visit to the factory at 11.45pm, experts concluded that the blaze was believed to have been started by an electrical fault.

Burton fire watch manager Gary Phillips said sprinklers within the factory had been crucial in keeping the fire contained so it did not spread to other parts of the site.

He said: “I would like to praise the staff at Pirelli Tyres as they were very professional and aided us in putting the fire out. “They evacuated the factory very quickly and very efficiently and no one was injured in the fire. The sprinklers helped to control the fire and stop it spreading.

“We are really pushing sprinklers at the moment as a fire suppressant. The damage was only to the machinery.” The last crew left the scene at 8pm on Saturday but returned around midnight to make sure that the machinery had cooled down.