"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

March 18, 2009

CHANCERY LANE - 2009

Photo: BBC website
On March 18, 2009, a 15-pump fire broke out at Breams Buildings on Chancery Lane in central London. Vicki Clarke, who works in an office in New Street Square, captured this image posted on the BBC web site. Chancery Lane derives its name from the historic High Court of Chancery. The Evening Standard newspaper describes Chancery Lane as "the heart of London's legal community." The London Fire Brigade said on its web site: "Around 130 people left the building before the arrival of the Brigade and two adjacent buildings were also evacuated from the 6th floor and above as a precaution."
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INCIDENT REPORT
15.36
A27 CLERKENWELL
15 PUMP FIRE, CYLINDERS INVOLVED
44766091
ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION TRIBUNAL SERVICE, CHANCERY LANE, EC4
Office block of 5 floors and mansard roof. 50 metres by 10 metres, 50 per cent of 4th floor and 75 per cent of mansard roof alight. 3 jets 2 aerial monitors, dry riser and breathing apparatus in use.1 ground monitor supplying protective water curtain to adjacent building. 3 by 15 kilogramme propane cylinders involved. Cylinder procedure implemented. 2 adjacent buildings evacuated from 6th floor and above. Extensive salvage operations being undertaken from 4th floor to ground level.

FIRE STRIKES

"You're lucky - Working to Rule simply means putting the fire out ...''
Photo and cartoons: Daily Mail, Daily Mirror
Firefighters across the U.K. staged a nationwide strike in November 1977 - and walked out again in 2002 and 2003.

The BBC said that during the first strike "firefighters eventually settled for a 10% increase, taking an average salary to just over £4,000, with the promise of more to come.''

There was more to come.

The BBC said: "Firefighters went on strike again in 2002/03. The long-running dispute which included a series of one day stoppages over a period of several months ended with a 16% pay rise tied to a modernisation package."

The military staffed civil defense fire engines during the strikes.

COVENT GARDEN THEATRE

Illustrated London News sketch of fire at Covent Garden Theatre dated March 15, 1857. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the fire occured during the previous year.

BALHAM TRAGEDY

On Oct. 15, 1940, a German air raid killed 111 people at Balham Underground station on the Northern line. This is exterior view shows a bus that fell into the bomb crater, according to London Transport. Firefighters and other members of the emergency services are also pictured.

WAITING FOR SHOUT

``A London Transport Fireman knits 'winter comforts' for the war effort in the early months of the Second World War, probably as part of London Transports 'Warco' scheme; he appears to be sitting on the running board of a fire engine. Two of his colleagues look on. A tabby cat plays with the ball of wool.'' - London Transport web site

CHISWICK WORKS


A special firefighting squad protected London Transport Chiswick Works during World War II. The plant - converted to defense work and operated by London Aircraft Production - was targeted by German bombers, including an incendiary raid on Oct. 10, 1940, according to London Transport. The photos show drilling on March 20, 1941.

CLAPHAM DEPOT

German bombers damaged the tram depot at Clapham on April 19, 1941, according to London Transport. The transit system sustained extensive damage during 1940-1941.

March 17, 2009

SIKH TEMPLE

Photo: Paul Wood, on London Evening Standard web site
On March, 16 2009, a 10-pump fire swept Gurdwara Sikh Sangatarson, a temple on Harley Grove in Bow, according to the Evening Standard. Police considered the fire suspicious, the Standard reported. “It is difficult to watch,'' said a worshiper quoted by the East London Adverister. "All the holy books are being destroyed. ... We worship our holy books as steps to God.” No injuries were reported.
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INCIDENT REPORT
14:06
F27 BOW
10 PUMP FIRE AERIALS 3
43392091
SIKH TEMPLE HARLEY GROVE E3
A temple of 2 floors, 20 metres x 40 metres, 75% of building and roof damaged by fire. 2 x aerial monitors, 2 x ground monitors, 2 x jets, water relay, breathing apparatus, thermal image camera.

March 16, 2009

CALEDONIA - 1980


Photos: River Clyde web site; Soho Fire Station web site
On April 27, 1980, a 15-pump fire destroyed the retired Paddle Steamer Caledonia, moored on the Thames. A flashover injured five firefighters, according to the Soho Fire Station web site. Renamed Old Caledonia, the vessel was serving as a floating pub at the Embankment. She was built in 1934.

FIREFIGHTER SAFETY

Photos: London Fire Brigade
After a fire at Smithfield Market killed two firefighters from Clerkenwell station in 1958, the London Fire Brigade introduced breathing apparatus control boards to improve firefighter safety by tracking their time, movement and estimated air supply in a burning building.
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Link to report on Smithfield fire:

March 02, 2009

BAA FIRE SERVICE

UPDATED JULY 2009

Photo: Press Association via The Times web site
Emergency landing at Gatwick on July 24, 2009

Photo: East Preston Fire Station website

Firefighters at London Gatwick Airport, second busiest airport in the U.K. after London Heathrow Airport. The firefighters at Gatwick and Heathrow are employed by BAA Airports Ltd., operator of the airports. Gatwick is located in West Sussex, and Heathrow is located in the London Borough of Hillingdon. BAA also operates London Stansted Airport in Essex.