Not a single care home, retirement home, sheltered home or hostel that Greenwich firefighters had to be called to last year had sprinklers installed.

This has prompted firefighters in the borough to call on more buildings that home vulnerable people to install potentially life-saving sprinklers.

John Graham, London Fire Brigade’s borough commander for Greenwich, , said: “It’s a tragic fact that many of the fires we see involve vulnerable people who have mobility and/or health issues that mean they are unable to escape even small fires and they may suffer fatal or life changing injuries before the fire brigade is even called.

“We need to ensure sufficient and appropriate protection measures are in place to safeguard these people where they live and suppression systems should be part of those considerations.”

Of the 428 fires in London at hostels, care homes, retirement homes and sheltered-housing accommodation last year, sprinklers were installed in just five.

In Greenwich, there were nine fires at these types of buildings, with no sprinklers installed in any case.

Mr Graham said: “Small fires can kill and soon develop into large fires unless they are stopped. Automatic fire suppression systems such as sprinklers can stop those small fires developing into tragedy.

“Sprinklers are the only system which detects a fire, suppresses a fire and raises the alarm. If you are housing vulnerable people, you have a responsibility for their welfare and that means ensuring what fire suppression measures you need to have in place.”