A SPRINKLER system prevented a huge-scale fire from englufing the Covered Market in Oxford city centre yesterday after a fridge burst into flames.

Three fire crews tackled the blaze at about 8.15am but said the market's sprinkler system saved the flames from spreading further and destroying some of the city's most-cherished stores.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service said the blaze was believed to be caused by a domestic fridge above Brothers cafe.

Three fire engines from Oxford city fire stations were out to the scene within minutes of it starting.

Upon arrival crews were met by an Oxford City Council Manager and a sprinkler engineer, who escorted crews to the scene of where the fire had taken place.

Watch Manager Simon Piper from Rewley Road Fire Station said: "if it not been for the sprinkler system, it is extremely likely that this incident would have spread throughout the Covered market, causing great loss to this heritage property and the local economy.

"Because of the effectiveness of this type of sprinkler system the fire was detected, controlled and extinguished and a potentially serious fire has been prevented meaning surrounding businesses are able to operate as normal."

In August last year firefighters were thanked for their “quick and effective action” after a fire broke out at the Holland & Barrett shop in Oxford’s Golden Cross arcade.

Crews from Oxford, Witney and Thame attended the scene off Cornmarket Street and found thick smoke billowing out of the health food shop. It was gutted in the blaze.