The fire was deliberately started when rubbish was set alight outside the 11-story Knowsley Heights tower block in Huyton, Merseyside. The flames began at the bottom of the building, and spread through a 90 millimetres (3.5 in) gap between the wall and the newly installed rainscreen cladding. The fire spread to all floors of the 11-storey building, causing extensive damage to the walls and windows of the building. The interior of the building did not suffer damage, as the fire did not enter the inside of the building. No-one was injured in the fire.
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) determined that the cladding around Knowsley Heights was a low risk of combustibility. They also highlighted that the building lacked firebreaks. The incident was mentioned by BRE for subsequent changes in building regulations.