Incident directory

1973 - Upbury Manor Secondary School

09/01/1973

Country:

UK

  • Building Fires

Severity:

Description

Date and event

9th January 1973.

Time of event

Approximately 10:57 (INITIAL CALL).

Name of premise

Upbury Manor Secondary School.

Location

Gillingham.

Service area

Kent Fire Brigade (KFB) now Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS).

Nature of incident

Fire.

Property type

Educational.

Premise use

School.

Construction type and materials

Unknown at this time.

Occupancy

Pupils and members of staff (approximately 1600).

Fire source and location of fire

Science Lab.

Synopsis

Brief synopsis

On the 9th January 1973 a firefighter (Ff) died of injuries resulting from a ‘flashover explosion’ in a school laboratory (House & Settle et al, 2017).

At approximately 10:57 Kent Fire Brigade (KFB) were called to Upbury Manor School in Gillingham. 1600 pupils were already evacuated. Thick black smoke was said to be coming from the science laboratory and 2 breathing apparatus (BA) wearers were committed into the building to ascertain the extent of the damage and search for the seat of the fire. It is currently understood that sometime after entry into the laboratory that, was full of thick, acrid, black smoke, some sort of rapid fire development believed to be a ‘flashover’ occurred. The Ffs were separated with one being thrown towards the door. This Ff was pulled to safety by colleagues however the other Ff was missing within the lab. A search was conducted whereby the missing Ff was located slumped against a wall with his BA mask off (Pearce & Masters, Circa.1998 and Klopper, 1984).

The Ff who rescued the deceased Ff from the lab suffered burns to his hands, face and neck. All 3 Ffs that had been injured were rushed to hospital. From what is currently understood the deceased Ff died from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. The 8 ft fluorescent light fittings within the lab had plastic diffusers fitted. It was thought that due to the heat the plastic diffuser had softened and melted due to the fire then fallen onto the deceased Ffs BA mask which had moulded itself around his BA mask as well as the BA sets harness. It was thought that the Ff had removed his BA mask to, as a matter of instinct, to prevent himself being burnt. As a result, he was exposed to the lethal smoke and CO within (Pearce & Masters, Circa. 1998 and Klopper 1984).

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 and 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 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 and Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Report/s

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

Kent Police Incident Report/s

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

South East Coast Ambulance Service Incident Report

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

Building Research Establishment (BRE) Report/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

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.

Pearce, P. H. & Masters, P. (Circa. 1998). Fifty vigilant years. A history of the Kent fire brigade 1948 – 1998. Pages 103 – 104. Ashford. Aquarius.

Klopper, H. (1984). To fire committed. Page 208. Tonbridge. Kent Council of the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund.

Unknown author. (1973). Fireman killed in school laboratory. Fire. (February). Page 421.

 Pic 02

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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