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Significant Fires

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Today marks the anniversary of the Bradford City Stadium Fire which claimed the lives of 56 people back in 1985. I always remember the TV footage which sort of left a mark on me in respect of the fire service and the devastation left behind. I guess many of the younger ones will draw upon 9/11, but I was at that age in 1985 were I realised that this wasn't a great event at all.

So whilst we remember those who lost their lives, which memorable incident left its mark on you and why?

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Out of the disasters that occurred when I was in the job, Bradford was by far the biggest shock due to the unlikeliness of such an event (IMHO).

Lockerbie was awful, but blowing up planes had been around since the 1970s, Kings Cross was no surprise as a fire underground in 'buildings' that had huge travel distances but (at that time) hardly any fire detection would always be difficult. Ships sink & trains crash, so the Zebrugge and Paddington were tragic but predictable as was Piper Alpha as the North Sea has always been a dangerous place to work.

But would have envisaged a fire in a three sided tin & timber shed with virtually no fire loading, numerous fire exits to the rear and a low wall to the front should never have been an issue and one that kills 50+ people - especially as the Police found the fire almost immediately and raised the alarm.

Maybe it's the live pictures, the fact I have been to many football matches and horror of how they died all add up to make this the big one for me - easily tied first with the horror of 9/11 in many ways

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Think it probably was the live pictures that make this a big one for many people Messy. This was at a time well before rolling news and the other thing that sticks with me is the speed the flames seemed to roll right through the structure.

Kings Cross is another that sticks with me, for the images of the thick smoke bellowing out of the exits with some of the crews emerging form the smoke, before they are captured sitting recovering at the kerbside absolutely shattered.

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Yes Kings Cross for me too, tragic.  I'll never forget the news footage of those crews coming out and looking exhausted.  It was probably the catalyst that sparked my desire to get in the job.

I also remember the Bradford fire, horrific how that took hold.

The Conservative party IRA bombing in Brighton also sticks in my mind, again remembering seeing the fire crews assisting in the aftermath.

All very tragic but all played a part in the much younger me wanting to do this job.  Yes the job has changed but if god forbid anything like the aforementioned happened again we'd still be there like our colleagues were back then.

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  • 1 month later...

Over here it was The Stardust nightclub fire on Valentine's day 1981. The "nightclub" was a converted factory with flammable carpet tiles on the walls. 48 people died in the fire and 128 were injured. I was old enough to remember it when I joined the job, and lucky enough to serve with some great men who worked that night. One of them told me the story of nearly being lynched by a mob who thought he was running away from the fire when he was trying to find a hydrant. 1 of the firefighters on duty that night lost 2 daughters in the blaze. Stardust fire

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The video of the research into the cause of the Stardust were an exact replica of the bar was rebuilt is one of the best examples of a flashover I have seen. 

I'm sure most people will have seen it, but when the researchers have to evacuate even under controlled conditions, it gives some indication of how horrendous the original incident was.

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  • 3 months later...

We still use the video to demonstrate flashover in Manchester as I am sure many others do. 

For those who have not seen the video, here is the long version of the Stardust Video. If you want to skip to the moment the room flashed, start the video at 12:05 and watch the ashtray and seats and the heat increases.

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