Incident directory

1969 - Gidlow Mills

20/10/1969

Country:

UK

  • Building Fires

Severity:

Description

Date of event

20th October 1969

Time of event

13:53 (INITIAL CALL)

Name of premises

Gidlow Mills.

Location

Wigan.

Service area

Wigan County Borough Fire Brigade (WCBFB) then Greater Manchester County Fire Service (GMCFS) now Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS). Station grounds involved in incident previously Lancashire County Fire Brigade (LCFB) now Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS).

Nature of incident

Fire.

Property type

Factory of unknown number of storeys and size at this time.

Premises use

Industrial cotton spinning mill.

Construction type and materials

Steel frame with engineering brick walls, wooden floors and pitched and ‘Northlight’ roofs.

Occupancy

Staff.

Fire source and location of fire

Unknown at this time.

Synopsis

Brief Synopsis

Lancashire County Fire Brigade (LCFB), (stations initially involved now part of GMFRS) were called to a fire at Gidlow Mills at approximately 13:53 on the 20th October 1969. The initial pre-determined attendance (PDA) of 1 x water tender ladder (WrL), 1 x pump escape (PE), 1 x turntable ladder (TL) and an emergency tender (ET) was sent. It was understood that the Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) also attended initially. When the first appliances arrived the crews were ‘met by the site of approximately 2500 employees who had evacuated the various buildings on site’ (Peet, 1969). The crowds initially hindered the crews (assumed inadvertently due to the numbers present) from getting to the fire.

At 14:01 a make pumps (MP) 4 message was sent. At 14:09 a MP 6 message was sent and the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) also attended. Numerous firefighters tackled the fire using jets and breathing apparatus (BA) at the south side of the building. At the north side of the building the fire was too intense to use BA within and only external firefighting took place (Peet, 1969).

At 14:25 the was an explosion within which caused the structural collapse of an external wall to collapse onto 3 firefighters (Ffs) including a LCFB Sub Officer (SubO) who was 32 at the time of the incident. The SubO received multiple injuries including fractures of his spine, shoulder, ribs, foot and leg. He also sustained a punctured lung. A stop message was sent at 16:19 (Peet, 1969).

The SubO spent the next 32 years, until his death, confined to a wheelchair as a result of his injuries (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

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

 Pic 01and02

Wall at time of explosion and structural collapse. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

 Pic 03

Crews rescuing colleagues after collapse. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

 Pic 04

View of wall before the explosion and collapse. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

 Pic 05

Another view of wall before the explosion and collapse. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

 Pic 06

Another view of wall collapsed after the explosion. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

 Pic 07

View of part of the mill. (Fireflash-delta64, unknown date).

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

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.

Lancashire Ambulance Service now 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

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

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

Fireflash-delta64. (Unknown date). Gidlow Mills Wigan 20 October 1969 a tribute to the late Sub-officer George Chadwick [1930 – 2001] D65 Hindley. Available at http://www.fireflash-delta64.co.uk/gidlowmills.html [Accessed 22nd September 2016].

Fireservice.co.uk (unknown date). Lancashire Mill blaze. [online]. Available at http://www.fireservice.co.uk/history/lancashire-mill-blaze [Accessed 22nd September 2016].

Peet, N. (1969). 3 firefighters injured in Lancashire mills blaze. Fire. December, 1969.

 Pic 08

From Peet, 1969, Fire Magazine.

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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