No sprinklers in intu shopping centre's car park – but there are safety measures in place in case a fire breaks out

Calls to ensure the safety of a central car park are being heard after the fires in Liverpool.

On New Year’s Eve, 1,300 vehicles were engulfed in 1,000C fires which destroyed the car park near to the Liverpool Echo Arena, forcing drivers to ring in the New Year in a temporary shelter.

Now, members of the public are calling for Watford’s car parks, particularly that at the intu shopping centre, to be thoroughly checked over to ensure it is fire safe.

One of the reasons, it has been suggested, that the fire in Liverpool was so ferocious was that it lacked the relevant fire safety procedures, namely a sprinkler system.

However, a spokesman from intu has said, while their car park in Watford does not have a sprinkler system due to it not being a legal requirement, they have a “well rehearsed” fire strategy.

An intu spokesman said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of everyone in our centres. Every single intu shopping centre and car park has a fire strategy in place, managed by our own highly skilled fire officers.

“Our well-rehearsed plans are designed in partnership with specialist fire engineering consultants and the local fire authority. We work together to ensure that our centres adhere to the highest possible standards and comply with all fire safety regulations and legislation. It is not currently a legal requirement to have sprinklers in our car parks and therefore they are not installed.

“However, as you would expect, we regularly review and update our processes. Following the incident at the Liverpool Echo Arena, we are working with our fire safety consultants to undertake a further review of our car park fire safety measures as a precaution and will adapt our procedures based on their advice.”

Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, has congratulated the group for their efforts in ensuring the town is safe from a similar blaze.

He said: “Following the tragic fire in Liverpool Echo Arena, intu Watford will be reviewing their car park fire safety measures which I think is right.

“I welcome the fact that their fire alarm system was recently enhanced and that a proper fire strategy is in place.”