Incident directory

1960 - Cheapside Street

28/03/1960

Country:

UK

  • Building Fires

Severity:

Fatal

Description

Date of event

28th March 1960

Time of event

19:15 HRS (INITIAL CALL)

Name of premises

Arbuckle, Smith and Co. Ltd. Warehouse.

Location 

76 to 118, Cheapside Street, Glasgow.

Service area

Glasgow Fire Brigade And Glasgow Salvage Corps, now The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

Nature of incident

Fire, explosion and structural collapse.

Property type

Bonded warehouse approximately 122m x 34m.

Premises use

Bonded warehouse storing whiskey barrels.

Construction type and materials

Numerous buildings interconnected at varying levels comprising of a basement, some attics and up to 6 floors. Brick built in the main with cast iron columns and steel beams with mainly wooden floors under pitched slate roofs. Some concrete flooring and some asbestos sheeting. Built circa 1892.

Occupancy

Members of staff

Fire source and location of fire

Unknown ignition. Origin believed to be in area of No.1 bond on second floor.

Synopsis

Brief Synopsis

The Glasgow Fire Service were called to a fire within a bonded whiskey storage warehouse at Cheapside Street, Glasgow. The first call to the fire was at approximately 19:15 and 2 pumps and a turntable ladder (TL) were initially sent. The fireboat ‘St Mungo’ was also sent and a salvage tender from The Glasgow Salvage Corps also attended. When the crews arrived a few minutes later, almost immediately at approximately 19:21 a ‘make pumps five’ assistance message was sent. Breathing apparatus (BA) wearers were committed to the smoke logged building to try and locate and tackle the fire (Chadwick, 1960).

An Assistant Firemaster had also arrived on scene and due to the deteriorating conditions and developing fire a further assistance message was sent, ‘make pumps 8’ at approximately 19:48. Just after this message was sent at approximately 19:49, there was a major explosion which blew out the walls of the premises burying a number of firefighters, salvagemen and their equipment including a TL. A ‘make pumps 10 and send ambulances’ message was immediately sent (Chadwick, 1960).

The warehouse had contained over a million gallons of whiskey and rum. The fire burned out of control for several hours and took over a week to extinguish. Several adjoining buildings were also destroyed. At the height of the blaze 5 TL’s and 30 pumps had been in attendance at the scene with other appliances including a Foam Tender (FoT), an Emergency Tender (ET), a Fire Boat, and a Control/Canteen Unit. 14 firefighters from The Glasgow Fire Service and 5 salvagemen from The Glasgow Salvage Corps died during the incident (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 1

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 2

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 3

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 4

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret adn The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 5

Cheapside Street before the fire. Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire adn Rescue Service. From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 6

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 7

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 8

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 9

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 10

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 11

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 12

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 13

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 14

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 15

Picture courtesy of Simon Ryan, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Photo 16

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 17

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 18

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 19

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

Photo 20

Pictures courtesy of James Smith, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Ret and The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  From (Chadwick, 1960).

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.

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

Chadwick, M. (circa 1960). Report of the Glasgow fire disaster 28th March 1960. [pdf] The Glasgow Fire Service.

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 regulation 28 notices

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

Other information sources

Multiple contributors. (unknown dates). Cheapside Street whiskey bond fire. Several secondary references, [online] page. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheapside_Street_whisky_bond_fire [Accessed 17th August 2016].

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.

Chadwick, M. (1960). Special supplement, September 1960 Glasgow; personal observations by the firemaster. Glasgow. Fire. May. Pages 685 & 701 to 704.

Klopper, H. (1960). The Glasgow tragedy. Fire. May. Page 683.

Unknown author. (1960). Heroes laid to rest. Fire. June. Page 45.

Photo 21 'Heroes Laid To Rest'

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

YouTube. (circa 2011). Firefighters Tribute Cheapside Street UK. [online].  [Accessed 17th August 2016].

YouTube. (original video 1960). Fatal Fire (1960). [online]. [Accessed 20th September 2016].

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