The fire started in an electrical cable and spread to furniture made of flammable polyurethane foam.
There were about 500 people in the store at the the time.
Among the victims was Woolworth employee Cyril Baldwin, 68, who served as an auxiliary fireman during World War Two and died trying to save others.
According to the UK Fire Service website:
The Station Officer immediately sent a message to “Make Pumps 10″. Rescues were started from a 13.5m extension ladder and from the cage of the hydraulic platform. Other members of the public were found at ground level and were brought out to safety. At 13.35, an ADO arrived and requested a turntable ladder to rescue a man seen on the top floor. By now other appliances were arriving and further 13.5m ladders were pitched to the barred windows.