Colin Townsley, Fire Brigade, Victoria, St Pancras Road, London Ambulance Service
King's Cross Fire. At about 19:30 on 18th November 1987 several passengers reported seeing a fire under a Piccadilly line 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. The fire was beneath the escalator and impossible to get close enough to use a fire extinguisher. The decision to evacuate the station was made at 19:39, using the Victoria line escalators. A few minutes later the fire brigade arrived and several firemen went down to the escalator to assess the fire. They saw a fire about the size of a large cardboard box and plans were made to fight it with a water jet using men with breathing apparatus.Six minutes later at 19:45 flashover occurred and a jet of flames came up the Piccadilly escalator shaft filling the ticket hall with intense heat and thick black smoke, killing or seriously injuring most of the people in the ticket hall. Several hundred people became trapped below ground most of these passengers escaped on Metropolitan and Victoria line trains. Thirty fire crews over 150 firefighters were deployed to fight the fire and fourteen London Ambulance Service ambulances ferried the injured to local hospitals,.The fire was declared out at 01:46 the following morning. Thirty-one people died and 100 people were taken to hospital, 19 with serious injuries.Amongst the dead was Fire Brigade station officer Colin Townsley who was in charge of the first fire engine to arrive at the scene and was down in the ticket hall at the time of the flashover. His body being found beside that of a badly burnt passenger at the base of the exit steps to St Pancras Road. It is believed that Townsley spotted the passenger in difficulty and stopped to help her. November 18th 1987. Our Picture Shows; Exhausted firemen taking a break from fighting the fire below
|Color||Black & White|
|Keywords||1980s,20th Century,Accidents,Breathing Apparatus,Emergency Services,Fire Brigade,Firemen,Railway,Station,Transport,Underground|
|Credit||Mirrorpix / GIW Photos|
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