Incident directory

1950 - Brookhouse Spinning Mills

29/03/1950

Country:

UK

  • Building Fires

Severity:

Description

Date of event

29th March 1950.

Time of event

Approximately 18:30 (INITIAL CALL)

Name of premises

Brookhouse Spinning Mills.

Location

Brookhouse Lane, Blackburn, Lancashire.

Service area

Blackburn County Borough Fire Brigade (BCBFB) now Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS).

Nature of incident

Fire.

Property type

Industrial storage.

Premises use

Store for surplus government stock.

Construction type and materials

Brick, with assumed wooden floors, consisting of 6 stories.

Occupancy

Unknown at this time.

Fire source and location of fire

Unknown at this time.

Synopsis

Brief Synopsis

The fire was believed to have started on the third floor which housed cameras, stoves, oxygen cylinders, fire extinguishers, and other highly flammable artefacts. At the time of call the crews were already responding to a false alarm on old market place in the centre of town. Thirty-five Ffs with a total of seven fire appliances and one turn table ladder were used to fight the fire (Various sources at Blackburn fire history.org).

A total of nine jets were in use, despite having difficulty in accessing the building. To overcome this it was decided necessary to take hose lines up and over adjoining roof tops to gain entry to the building. The Station officer (StnO) and five other Ffs gained access to the affected floors via the roof and proceeded to fight back the fire. At some point a partial collapse of the floor occurred causing the StnO to fall to the floor below (Various sources at Blackburn fire history.org).

His fall was cushioned by bales of Jute and he managed to escape with just a sprained ankle. Two other members of the crew were cut off from the rest and had to be rescued by the nearest window by Ffs on the Turn table ladder.  After an hour the fire was alleged to be under control.  By early the next morning crews were withdrawn to rest, after crews worked tirelessly through the night. Fresh crews were then committed to carry out damping down duties (Various sources at Blackburn fire history.org).

A large number of Ffs received minor injuries that night. In total, nineteen Ffs received treatment in hospital from the effects of smoke inhalation (Various sources at Blackburn fire history.org).

 Pic 01 and 02

Brookhouse Spinning Mill, from Blackburn fire history.org.

 Pic 03

Brookhouse Spinning Mill, from Blackburn fire history.org.

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

Main findings, key lessons & areas for learning

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

Fire & Rescue Service summary of main findings, conclusions, key lessons & recommendations

No formal records of the incident are believed to have been kept.

The events that unfolded that night would have been tackled differently by today’s Fire Service. Risk assessments play a vital role in decision making when commanding an incident. With the addition of improved equipment and personal protection Firefighters of today are better equipped to tackle such events. However, the importance of risk assessment should not be over looked. Analytical and Dynamic risk assessments allow officers to make informed decisions based on the Firefighter maxim (Bromwich, 2018).

At every incident the greater the potential benefit of fire and rescue actions, the greater the risk that is accepted by commanders and Firefighters. Activities that present a high risk to safety are limited to those that have the potential to save life or to prevent rapid and significant escalation of the incident’ (UKFRS, 2018 via Bromwich, 2018). 

As there was no apparent lives to be saved and the commitment of crews appeared to be of little benefit in controlling the fire, by today’s standards and procedures crews may not have been exposed to such risks in the first place. Today Officers have the benefit of utilizing information created by Site specific risk information, (SSRI). If back then officers were privy to such information; identifying the hazards within the building and difficulties in supplying water, it is very doubtful that crews would have been committed inside (Bromwich, 2018).

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

FBU summary of main findings, conclusions, key lessons & recommendations

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

Other report summary of main findings, conclusions, key lessons & recommendations

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

IFE Commentary & lessons if applicable

None produced at this time.

Known available source documents

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

FRS Incident Report/s

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

FBU Incident Report/s

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Report/s and/or improvement notices

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Lancashire Constabulary Incident Report/s

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

North West Ambulance Service Incident Report

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Building Research Establishment (BRE) Reports/investigations/research

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Coroner’s report/s and/or Rule 43 and/or Regulation 28 Notices etc

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Dear Chief Officer Letters (DCOL), FRS Circulars, FRS Notices and/or Bulletins etc and/or Related Government Correspondence

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Notifications from National Operational Learning User Group (NOLUG) and/or Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP)

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Other information sources

Bromwich, S. (2018). Private communication with A, Course [email]. Facilitated by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS).

Various sources. (2018). Brookhouse Mill Fire 31st March 1954 [online]. Available at; http://www.blackburnfirehistory.org.uk/content/catalogue_item/1970s-articles/1950s/incidents-3/brookhouse-mill-fire-31st-march-1954 [Accessed 19th June 2018].

The National Operational Guidance (2018). The foundation for incident command – firefighter safety maxim [online]. Available at; https://www.ukfrs.com/foundation-knowledge/foundation-incident-command [Accessed 20th July 2018]. UKFRS.

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

Service learning material

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Videos available

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

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