Incident directory

1969 - Hope Street STV Studios

03/11/1969

Country:

UK

  • Building Fires

Severity:

Description

Date of event

3rd November 1969                 

Time of event

Approximately 16:12 (INITIAL CALL).

Name of premises

Scottish Television (STV) Studios within The Theatre Royal.

Location

Hope Street, Glasgow.

Service area

The Glasgow Fire Service (GFS) now The Scottish Fire Service (SFRS).                                

Nature of incident

Fire.

Property type

Theatre used as and converted into TV studios approximately 85 m x 55 m with a basement and a sub-basement.

Premises use

TV studios.

Construction type and materials

Unconfirmed at this time, assumed steel frame and concrete with brick and/or block.

Occupancy

Members of staff, actors/tresses and any visitors.

Fire source and location of fire

Unconfirmed at this time.

Synopsis

Brief Synopsis

The Glasgow Fire Service (GFS) were called to a fire within a Scottish Televisions (STV) Hope Street studios which were based at The Theatre Royal, on the 3rd November 1969. The first call to the nearest fire station was via an automatic alarm at approximately 16:12. The indicating panel within the theatre showed the fire was within the sub-basement. Information was received by the arriving crews that a security guard who had initially tackled the fire in the sub-basement area, was unaccounted for (Cooper, 1970).

The first crews arrived at approximately 16:15. A senior officer led a breathing apparatus (BA) team to the sub-basement where the initial fire in that area was extinguished. The fire had, however, spread to the upper floor (basement level). Crews had to withdraw due to low cylinder contents and the deteriorating conditions. Further BA crews were deployed to the basement level where many partitions and the thick, hot smoke made it very difficult to locate the fire. The fire developed and conditions further worsened. At approximately 17:00 a decision to use high expansion foam was made and equipment was requested. Several further assistance (make up) messages of make pumps (MP) 6 were sent at approximately 17:05 and an additional emergency tender (ET) requested at 17:16. A thick foam blanket was put in place on the first floor. The fire continued to develop. At 20:25 a MP 15 assistance message was sent. At approximately 21:00 windows were breached although from Cooper 1970, it is not clear how (Cooper, 1970).

At approximately 23:00 the fire breached onto the ground floor and there a ‘dramatic change’ where ‘fire suddenly broke through on the ground floor and flashover conditions in the upper reaches of the building once more appeared to be developing’, crews were withdrawn. As the basement crews evacuated a missing crew member was reported, a Sub Officer (SubO). An opening was also reported in the basement floor. A roll call was undertaken and further assistance messages were sent with more foam also requested. Conditions deteriorated with all rescue teams withdrawn (Cooper, 1970).

At approximately 10:40 the next day entry to the basement was attempted where it was discovered much of the ground floor had collapsed and that the basement was filled with foam. The SubO’s body was found below the opening of the basement floor in the sub-basement submerged in water. It was not known what time he was found. It was believed he drowned. A stop message was sent at 13:33. (Cooper, 1970).

At least 10 other firefighters and officers (including the Firemaster, Deputy Firemaster and Assistant Firemaster) were also injured by heat, smoke, burns and lacerations and all required hospital treatment (Cooper, 1970).

 Pic 2

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 3

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 4

 Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 5

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

  Pic 6

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 7

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 8

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

  Pic 9

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 10

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

 Pic 11

Images courtesy of The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and from Logowski, K. (2016) & Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Unknown photographer/s at this time.

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 information identified to date and/or still to be located.

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

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

IFE Commentary & lessons if applicable

It is believed that the circumstances of this incident led to the development of the automatic distress unit that would alert would be rescuers/colleagues to a BA wearer who was not moving for more than 30 seconds. The SubO had not activated his manual distress unit, it was believed, because he had been concussed and/or knocked unconscious, possibly due to the fall (Cooper, 1970).

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.

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

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

Police Scotland Incident Report/s

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

Scottish 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

Forbes, A. & Smith, J. (2010). Tinderbox heroes. commemorating the Cheapside Street disaster and the extreme challenges faced by Glasgow’s post-war fire service. Glasgow. Strathclyde fire & rescue retired employees association.

Unknown contributor/s. (circa 2016). Hope Street. Secondary references, [online] page. Available at: http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/the-firefighters-heritage-trail/hope-street.aspx [Accessed 17th August 2016].

Cooper, G. P. (1970). 10 injured in 21 hour fight to contain basement fire. Fire, (62 No.778), Pages 553 to 554.

 Pic 12 

Pic 13

Unknown author. (1969). Two sub officers die in Glasgow and Southampton. Fire. December. Page 348.

 Pic 14

Glasgow Herald Article. (1969). Firemans body found in six feet of water. Secondary references, [online] page. Available at: http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/the-firefighters-heritage-trail/hope-street.aspx [Accessed 17th August 2016].

Logowski, K. (circa 2016). Hope Street. Several secondary references [online] photo gallery, Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/93785949@N03/sets/72157632921090833/show/ [Accessed 21th August 2016].

House, A. & Settle, P. et al. (2016). The firefighter memorial trust book of remembrance. [online]. Available at. http://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/FirefighterMemorialTrust/Content/Filler  [Accessed 20th September 2017]. The Firefighters Memorial Trust.

Note. with the above source reference, it is not currently possible to link directly to the relevant page of the memorial book.

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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