Lessees sue for over £16m after a sprinkler system was turned off for repairs

The lessees of warehouses in Leicestershire are suing for damages of more than £16m after the premises were destroyed in a blaze two years ago.

Fire swept through a large industrial unit at Magna Park in Lutterworth on 1 November 2005, destroying the property, after the sprinkler system had been turned off for repairs, it is alleged.

Now lessees Ing (UK) Listed Real Estate Nominee (No 1) and Ing (UK) Listed Real Estate Nominee (No 2) are suing Magna Park Management, CPAM Commercial Property Asset Management, Atlas Fire Engineering, and Young Contracting (Midlands) for damages of more than £16m.

The management company decided to alter and improve the water sprinkler distribution main in 2001.

Work was contracted to Altas Fire Engineering, who in turn subcontracted part of the work to civil engineers Young Contracting.

Four years later, during routine pump house tests, a pipework joint sprang open, and workmen cut off the water to the ring main, and CPAM and Atlas decided to leave the system shut down until the burst pipe could be repaired.

Two weeks later, while the water supply to the sprinkler was still turned off, fire broke out in the unit, destroying the warehouse and its contents.

Rebuilding cost more than £14m while insurance, legal fees, and other costs brought the total loss to £16,252,961.35.

Ing accuses the four companies of negligence and says this led to the blaze.