Friday, 11 May 2012

The Bradford City fire

On this day….27 years ago, a fire at Bradford City’s Valley Parade football ground claimed the lives of 56 spectators including 11 children and 19 pensioners.

The blaze swept through a wooden stand a few minutes before half time, the flames speeding along faster than supporters could run, feasting on debris that had been accumulating beneath the structure for decades.     Quite legally, there were no fire extinguishers in the stand, and doors through which people could have escaped to the street were locked.

Ironically, the match was meant to be a celebration, with the Bradford team parading the Third Division championship trophy they had already won, and work had been due to start on replacing the wooden roof of the stand the following Monday.

The government set up a judicial inquiry into the disaster, which came up with a host of recommendations for stadium safety including banning smoking in potentially dangerous areas, and ensuring that exits could be opened from inside in an emergency.   For the full story, see A Disastrous History of Britain.

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