Rapid response to a Fire Incident

Project Type: Data Centre – Germany

UPS module firse can be a serious event, and it is important to take immediate action to prevent the fire from spreading and to protect people and property. The specific circumstances of a UPS module fire will vary, but some common causes include:

  • Overheating: If the UPS module overheats, it can cause the internal components to ignite. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as clogged air vents, a faulty cooling system, or excessive float voltages.
  • Short circuits: A short circuit can occur when two electrical conductors come into contact with each other. This can cause a sudden surge in current, which can lead to overheating and fire.
  • Faulty batteries: The batteries in a UPS module can also catch fire if they are faulty. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as manufacturing defects, improper charging, or deep discharge.

The incident occurred during a battery discharge test on a UPS module 3 of a Juice Box 2C. The Juice Box 2C is a uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that is used to protect critical electrical equipment from power outages. The UPS module 3 is one of three modules that make up the UPS.

Description of event: ​

The JB-2C UPS was undergoing full load discharge. UPS string 1 and 2 were successfully discharged ​

During the discharging of UPS string 3, it was noted there was a smell coming from the battery room. The load was removed from the load bank and UPS was put into maintenance bypass. All operatives evacuated the juice box​.
A small amount of smoke was then identified as coming from the battery room, which was emitting from a smoldering battery block​. 

The general contractor and client company called the fire brigade and proceeded to attempt to extinguish the smoldering battery with powder extinguishers. Gradually the battery began to flame at which point the GC and client withdraw from the room and ensured that all generators were out of service and cut the MV from incoming to the site in preparation for the fire brigade’s arrival, and to safeguard the rest of the equipment​.

The fire continued to grow inside the room, the GC sounded the fire alarm inside the building and everyone was safely evacuated away from the fire. The fire brigade arrived on site and proceeded to extinguish the fire, the process of which washed sulfuric acid out of the juice box​.

The environmental agency was called and water was contained with the use of temporary sand banks constructed by the GCs groundwork company​.


  • Both the GC and client handled the incident in a controlled and professional manner, and with their quick reactions, saved not just equipment but the lives of others on-site.​

  • The correct procedures for making the site safe were followed including isolating the generators and shutting down the MV into the site. The building was evacuated as per the fire strategy and all operatives were marshaled to the evacuation point for a head count.​

  • A quick response was achieved from the local fire brigade, as well as from the Mercedes Benz factory. Boukontour were a key asset in liaising with the Fire Brigade and environmental agency ​


The following issues were noticed during the event and corrected to maintain proper operation: ​

  • The system could not be maintained in proper operation and all MV had to be isolated

  • The following issues were noticed during the event and required further investigation:​

  • Contamination of the dispersed fire brigade powder/water mix with the sulfuric acid.​

  • The event was complete on 21/009/22 at 22.30 with all systems isolated not in operation, other than supplies from the projects power string.