Bradford Fire - Football Tragedy 30 years on

May 09, 2015, 12:22 PM

Listen to how ILR Radio Station Pennine Radio's Tony Delahunty witnessed a tragedy unfold in the middle of a football match.

The Bradford City stadium fire was the worst fire disaster in the history of English football. It occurred during a league match in front of record numbers of spectators, on Saturday, 11 May 1985, killing 56 and injuring at least 265.

The Valley Parade stadium, long-established home to Bradford City Football Club, had been noted for its antiquated design and facilities, including the wooden roof of the main stand. Warnings had also been given about a major build-up of litter just below the seats. The stand had been officially condemned and was due for demolition.

The match against Lincoln City had started in a celebratory atmosphere, with the home-team receiving the Football League Third Division trophy. At 3.40 pm, a small fire was reported by TV commentator John Helm, but in less than four minutes, in windy conditions, it had engulfed the whole stand, trapping some people in their seats. In the panic that ensued, fleeing crowds had to break down locked exits to escape. There were many cases of heroism, with more than fifty people receiving police awards or commendations. (Source Wiki)

The antiquated stand at Valley Parade eventually claimed the lives of 56 supporters and about 265 were injured. It was the worst fire disaster in the history of British football history.

The death toll might have been higher had it not been for the courage of police officers and 22 spectators later presented with bravery awards.

The cause of the fire is thought to have been the accidental dropping of a match or a cigarette stubbed out in a polystyrene cup and the resulting fire was fuelled by rubbish underneath the wooden stand.

An inquiry chaired by Sir Oliver Popplewell published its final report in 1986. Its recommendations resulted in new legislation governing safety at sports grounds across the UK.

A Bradford Disaster Appeal Fund raised £3.5m for the victims and their families.(Source BBC) #bradford #city #fire #anniversary #irn #archive