There was water fog equipment, but staff had not been trained in its use. [5] The police made the decision to evacuate the station at 19:39, using the Victoria line escalators. The fire seemed minor until it suddenly increased in intensity, and shot a violent, prolonged tongue of fire, and billowing smoke, up into the ticket hall. [47], The fire also led to improvement in firefighters' equipment: yellow plastic leggings that melted in the heat and rubber gloves that limited movement were replaced with more effective clothing. Witnesses recalled seeing a firefighter wearing a white helmet just before the flashover telling passengers to get out. A review of the Brigade's Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). [13] Fourteen London Ambulance Service ambulances ferried the injured to local hospitals, including University College Hospital. The report into the distastrous escalator fire at King's Cross London Underground station in 1987. Investigators found charred wood in eight places on a section of skirting on an escalator and matches in the running track,[27] showing that similar fires had started before but had burnt themselves out without spreading. This escalator connected the Piccadilly line with the mainland station. On that fateful day 31 lives were lost and 100 people were injured. What is the Juvenile Firesetters Intervention Scheme? 4), and also towards the slope of the channel, effectively reducing the height … The time shown by the clock at the top of the escalator read 7:45pm – the exact moment when the flames burnt through its wiring. A one-off documentary - The King's Cross Fire: 6 Hours That Shocked Britain - will air this Thursday (November 16) at 9pm on Channel 5. Scenes recreating the disaster were filmed around Newcastle upon Tyne with Monument metro station in the city centre and the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel at Jarrow doubling for Kings Cross. 16 years of detective work and one surgical clip helped BTP detectives discover the identity of the body of Alexander Fallon: the last King's Cross fire victim to be identified. [36], The publication of the report led to resignations of senior management of both London Underground and London Regional Transport. Plans to be kept outside stations in locations agreed with the Brigade. [6] A few minutes later the fire brigade arrived and several firemen went down to the escalator to assess the fire. The blaze cracked concrete, stripped tiles from the walls and caused molten plastic to drip from the ceiling. This document was published on 21st October 1988 by His/Her Majesty's Stationery Office. [38][39], The Fire Precautions (Sub-surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989 were introduced. [50], Soon after the fire a commemoration service was held at St Pancras Church. [42] Consequently, Parliamentary bills were tabled to permit London Underground to improve and expand the busiest and most congested stations, such as London Bridge, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and King's Cross St Pancras. Wooden panelling was to be removed from escalators, heat detectors and sprinklers were to be fitted beneath escalators, and the radio communication system and station staff emergency training were to be improved. When both sides are alight, the flames are deflected towards the centre-line of the channel, their tips merging (as shown in Fig. [51] Further commemoration services were held on 18 November 2002, the fifteenth anniversary of the blaze, on the twentieth anniversary in 2007 at the station itself,[51] on the twenty-fifth anniversary in 2012 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament near the station[52] and on the thirtieth anniversary in 2017 at the station, with the laying of a wreath. Why do children set fires and signs to watch out for. Many passengers escaped using an alternative escalator and all trains had been instructed not to stop at the station, however, the ticket hall was still busy with the last of the evening's rush hour crowd when the fireball erupted from the stairwell. {On the top plaque:} King's Cross Disaster Fund In memory of the 31 people who died in the terrible fire at King's Cross underground station on the night of 18th November 1987. As well as the mainline railway stations above ground and subsurface platforms for the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, there were platforms deeper underground for the Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. Stairs connected the Piccadilly and Victoria line platforms[1] and from these there was a subway to King's Cross Thameslink railway station platforms used by British Rail Midland City (later Thameslink) trains to Moorgate and an entrance in Pentonville Road. However, this tragic fire has redefined policy on public transport, and led to changes that keep us all much safer today. Fire Safety J., 18(1) (1992) 83-103. s 2 and 3). The nearly life-expired Northern line escalators were replaced as well and the Northern line station reopened, completing the return to normal operation, on 5 March 1989. Kings Cross Station, London, UK. It is believed that Townsley spotted the passenger in difficulty and stopped to help her. When someone notices the glowing fire under the escalator, the person … Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a fire at a flat on Birkenhead Street, in King's Cross at 4.45pm. On 18 November 1987, a fire ripped through the Upper Booking Hall at King’s Cross Underground station. [43][44], Since then, major tube stations have been upgraded and expanded to increase capacity and improve safety. [41], London Underground was also recommended by the Fennell Report to investigate "passenger flow and congestion in stations and take remedial action". Kings Cross has been saved as your Local News location Close + 5 miles + 10 miles + 20 miles + 30 miles. Relatives of those killed in the King's Cross fire have taken part in an emotional service to mark 30 years since the devastating blaze. The ticket hall for the three tube lines was reopened in stages over four weeks. So how did it start? It was written by Desmond Fennell (OBE QC). The fire started under a wooden escalator serving the Piccadilly line and, at 19:45, erupted in a flashover into the underground ticket hall, killing 31 people and injuring 100. The Moorgate tube crash in 1975 tragically resulted in 43 people being killed and 74 being injured. Among those caught up in the fireball was Soho's Station Officer Colin Townsley, who had entered the underground with a colleague, Temporary Sub-Officer Roger Bell, of Clerkenwell Fire Station, to assess the situation. from the 1990 Album Party of One tells the story of the only unidentified victim of the King's Cross Fire, identified in 2004 as Alexander Fallon. The smoking ban extended to all station areas. A further person died later in hospital. On the evening of 18 November 1987, a fire at King’s Cross London Underground train station killed 30 people, including one of the first fire-officers on the scene. Download this stock image: King's Cross Fire. This item is linked to the Accident at Kings Cross on 18th November 1987. It ignites wax under the escalator. [51], The Nick Lowe song "Who Was That Man?" [14] The fire was declared out at 01:46 the following morning. [26] The police decided that the fire had not been started deliberately, as there was no evidence that an accelerant had been used and access to the site of the fire was difficult. Officers of the British Transport Police and station staff went to investigate and on confirming the fire one of the policemen went to the surface to radio for the fire brigade. The pop-up buildings that leave a legacy. A public inquiry was conducted from February to June 1988. [32] Experiments were conducted with a third scale replica of the escalator built at the UK's Health and Safety Executive site at Buxton. At about 19:30 on 18th November 1987 several passengers reported seeing a fire under a Piccadilly line escalator. The publication of the report led to resignations of senior management of both London Underground and London Regional Transport. What began as a small fire spread quickly and caused injuries to 100 people and killed 31. [21], Access to the Northern line platforms was indirect, its escalators connecting with the Piccadilly line. The former firefighter was one of the first on the scene at the devastating Kings Cross fire, in which 31 people died and 100 were injured. Smoking was banned in all London Underground stations, including on the escalators, on 23 November, five days after the fire. 18-11-1987, Railway accidents and incidents in the United Kingdom, 1900–1999,, 20th century in the London Borough of Camden, Building and structure fires in the United Kingdom, November 1987 events in the United Kingdom, Transport in the London Borough of Camden, Pages containing London Gazette template with parameter supp set to y, Pages using Template:Post-nominals with missing parameters, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Lit match discarded on wooden escalator; rapid spread due to, This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 15:00. Dropped matches ignited the contaminated grease and the fire began spreading. [17] The three escalators for the Piccadilly line had to be completely replaced, the new ones being commissioned on 27 February 1989, more than 16 months after the fire. [55], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}51°31′49″N 0°07′26″W / 51.5304°N 0.1239°W / 51.5304; -0.1239, A police car, three fire engines and an ambulance outside King's Cross, "Solved after 16 years – the mystery of victim 115", "How the final King's Cross fire victim was identified", "A Report for Dr A. Buchanan Dept. More than 150 firefighters and 30 fire engines were called to a blaze at King's Cross station at on the evening of 18 November 1987. London Bridge was upgraded in conjunction with the Jubilee Line Extension project, which opened in 1999,[45] King's Cross St Pancras was substantially upgraded and expanded as a component of the High Speed 1 project in the late 2000s,[44][46] and Tottenham Court Road was expanded as part of the Crossrail project in the mid 2010s. {On the lower plaque: a list of 30 names in alphabetical sequence, followed by:} An unidentified man Later identified as Alexander Williamson Fallon {For the full list … Music magazines at the time (such as Smash Hits) carried adverts to call premium rate phone lines to hear the song, and the money from the phone call would then go to the charity for fire … However, smokers often ignored this and lit cigarettes on the escalators on their way out. But on 18 November 1987 that would change, as a flashover - a sudden and rapid spread of fire caused by smoke or fumes igniting - claimed the lives of 31 people at King's Cross. As the superheated gases pooled along the ceiling of the escalator shaft, the layers of paint began absorbing the heat. Thanks for requesting a visit - holding details. After seven and a half minutes of normal burning, the flames lay down as in the computer simulation. An RMT banner at the commemorative event at Kings Cross. [34] When the wooden treads of the escalator flashed over, the size of the fire increased dramatically and a sustained jet of flame was discharged from the escalator tunnel into the model ticket hall. In 1666, a devastating fire swept through London, destroying 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, The Royal Exchange, Guildhall and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Following a fire at Oxford Circus station in November 1984, the ban was extended to all underground stations in February 1985. Buried in an unmarked grave, the charred body, which resembled a victim of Pompeii; crouched down and with their arms drawn in, was simply known by the tag which had … [31] A model of King's Cross station was built at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and using computer simulation software; this showed the flames lying down along the floor of the escalator rather than burning vertically before producing a jet of flame into the ticket hall. [22], A public inquiry into the incident was initiated by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. [10] This trapped below ground several hundred people, who escaped on Victoria line trains. How … As the traffic from all three tube lines would have overcrowded the Victoria line escalators, Northern line trains did not stop at Kings Cross until repairs were complete. Although small to begin with, described by one firefighter as "about the size of a large cardboard box", it became more serious quickly. Two months after the release of Actually, 31 people were killed in the King's Cross fire, which some [who?] [4] The fire was beneath the escalator, and it was impossible to reach it to use a fire extinguisher. When did fire brigades begin – and why? Original version and the November 1987 fire. However, painting protocols were not in his purview and his suggestion was widely ignored by his colleagues. The King’s Cross Underground fire was an ap palling disaster in which 31 people lost their lives. [53], Memorial plaques commemorating the disaster were installed at St Pancras Church, unveiled by the Princess of Wales, and at King's Cross station. A report was published on the inquiry, leading to resignations of senior management in both London Underground and London Regional Transport and to the introduction of new fire safety regulations. King's Cross Fire The Reunion Sue MacGregor gathers together five people who were profoundly affected by the Kings Cross Underground fire, … Major Connector. An escalator shaft led down to the Victoria line, and another led down to the Piccadilly line, and from that the Northern line. Part of a ground floor flat and the reception area of a six-storey block of flats were damaged by the fire. Mr Fallon was 73 when he died. It was allowed to burn for nine minutes before being extinguished. The blaze was reported on Birkenhead Street in King's Cross today. Coronavirus: are you caring for someone vulnerable? of Civil Engineering Canterbury University", "Youtube video: Kings Cross - Seconds from disaster. Fears lessons of deadly 1987 King's Cross fire have been 'forgotten' The scientist who helped investigate why the fire spread says Grenfell shows "many lessons" from King's Cross were not applied. One of the victims of the King’s Cross Fire remained unidentified for many years, creating quite a mystery. They saw a fire about the size of a large cardboard box and planned to fight it with a water jet using men with breathing apparatus. [37] Fires were described as "smouldering"; and staff had little or no training to deal with fires or evacuation. Until then, the Piccadilly line could only be reached via the Victoria line or Midland City platforms, and at peak hours in one direction only. The fire … How the final King’s Cross fire victim was identified. The trench effect and eruptive wildfires: lessons from the King’s Cross Underground disaster. The inquiry determined that the fire had started by a lit match being dropped onto the escalator. Staff and police went to investigate and on confirming the fire one of the policemen went to the surface to radio for the fire brigade. He was killed in the fire; his body was found beside that of a badly burnt passenger at the base of the exit steps to Pancras Road. On 18 November 1987, at approximately 19:30, a fire started at King's Cross St Pancras tube station, a major interchange on the London Underground. The London Fire Brigade said the fire spanned between a ground floor flat and six floors up. Hundreds of firefighters and members of the public paid tribute to fallen comrade Colin Townsley who died in the disaster. London Underground was strongly criticised for its attitude toward fires. King’s Cross Fire, 1987 What happened? The investigators reproduced the fire twice, once to determine whether grease under the escalator was ignitable, and the other to determine whether a computer simulation of the fire—which would have determined the cause of the flashover—was accurate. The inquiry opened at Central Hall, Westminster on 1 February 1988 and closed on 24 June, after hearing 91 days of evidence. A few years before the fire, the Underground's director of operations had warned that the accumulated paint might pose a fire hazard. RMT mark 25th anniversary of Kings Cross fire by demanding the. 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Crime. King's Cross Fire is the 30th episode of Seconds from Disaster testing how did a fire killed people meters away. Fire safety and Coronavirus - your lockdown to-do list, Supporting Fire Cadets – sponsors and partners. The King's Cross Fire: Results and analysis from the scale model tests. [25] The inquiry found that the fire was most probably caused by a traveller discarding a burning match that fell down the side of the moving staircase on to the running track of the escalator. The fire was beneath the escalator and impossible to get close enough to use a fire … Wooden escalators were gradually replaced with metal escalators on the London Underground. [36] Staff were expected to send for the Fire Brigade only if the fire was out of control, dealing with it themselves if possible. Directed by Jan Klimkowski. [33] The metal sides of the escalator served to contain the flames and direct the temperature ahead of the fire. Search and salvage operations continued throughout the night. Plot A lighted match is dropped by a smoker down a gap in the wooden escalator at the King's Cross tube station. On 18 November 1987, at approximately 19:30, a fire broke out at King's Cross St. Pancas tube station, a major interchange on the London Underground. The conclusion was that this newly discovered trench effect had caused the fire to flashover at 19:45. When was the King's Cross fire? How did the King's Cross fire begin? One man was assisted from the flat by a member of the public before fire crews arrived. The end result matched the eyewitness accounts of the fire, but the simulation's depiction of the fire burning parallel to the 30° slope of the escalator was thought by some to be unlikely and it was suspected that the programming might be faulty. interpreted as being foreseen by the song. [30], This test confirmed the initial eyewitness reports up to that point, but four expert witnesses could not agree as to how the small fire flashed over, with some concern that the paint used on the ceiling had contributed to the fire. Crews found the body of Station Officer Townsley beside the badly burned body of a passenger at the steps leading up to the Pancras Road entrance of the station. Bus bomber stopped for a Big Mac before killing started. The fire was under control at 9:48pm and was out at 01:46am on 19 November. [28] The investigators found a build-up of lubricant grease under the tracks, which was believed to be difficult to ignite and slow to burn once it started, but it was noted that the grease was heavily impregnated with fibrous materials (fluff from clothes, tickets and other small litter, human hair, rat fur, etc). Most of the fatalities occurred when a flashover engulfed the ticket hall at the top of the escalators (hot air ignited and produced a ball of fire … The blaze, which is thought to have started around 7:25pm, when a lit match fell through a gap on a wooden escalator and set fire to the grease and litter beneath the steps. Watch Thames News Footage of the funeral. The King’s Cross fire of 1987 killed 31 people and injured more than 60 others. [23] It was conducted by Desmond Fennell OBE QC, assisted by a panel of four expert advisers. Architecture. Finally, the mystery victim of the King's Cross Underground fire in November 1987 has been identified as Alexander William Fallon. The following people died in the fire at King’s Cross underground station on the night of 18th November 1987: Betty Afua Agyapong Terrence Alonzo Best Mark David Bryant Andy Burdett Elizabeth N. Byers Treena Chappell Dean T. Cottle Susheila N. Cottle Felix Dearden Neville H. Eve Jane A. Fairey Natalie A. Falco Alexander … Staff were complacent because there had never been a fatal fire on the Underground, and had been given little or no training to deal with fires or evacuation. There was just one … The King's Cross fire claimed the lives of 31 people – including a senior ranked firefighter – and seriously injured many more at King's Cross station. 18th November 2012. The heat from the fire was so intense that firefighters tackling the blaze had to use their hoses to spray the backs of colleagues in a bid to keep the temperature bearable for brief period. [35], London Underground were strongly criticised in the report for their attitude to fires underground, underestimating the hazard because no one had died in a fire on the Underground before. Is firefighting the right career for you? Investigators labelled this behaviour of the flames lying down in the escalator the 'trench effect'. PC Stephen Hanson, British Transport Police officer – speaking at the subsequent inquiry. Before the King's Cross fire a report produced by the Department of Transport revealed that the Department's railway inspectorate had an establishment of 24 but that five posts were vacant. Next Saturday, 18 November, marks the 30th anniversary of the Kings Cross fire. The fire began at around 7.30pm in a machine room under the escalator on November 18 1987. Never miss an exhibition or event with the London Fire Brigade Museum updates newsletter. King’s Cross St. Pancras Tube station is served by more lines than any other Underground station. The flames heated the framework and decking of the Piccadilly line escalator, pre-heating the rest of the wooden staircase before bursting into flames. [7], At 19:42 the entire escalator was aflame, producing superheated gas that rose to the top of the shaft enclosing the escalator, where it was trapped against the tunnel ceiling, which was covered with about twenty layers of old paint from past repainting. At Soho Fire Station, Station Officer Colin Townsley's space remains empty in memory of the fallen firefighter – and the members of the public who lost their lives that terrible day. Youtube video: Kings Cross - Seconds from disaster.