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#317966 - 11th May 20095:50amRe: Bradford City FC Fire 24 years on
my thoughts go out to family and freinds of all who suffered at Bradford that day.
for those that dont remember this.
Bradford City Fire Disaster Date: 11 May 1985 Location: Valley Parade Stadium, Bradford, England. Death Toll: 56
Fire, this time. It broke out during a match between the home team (Bradford City), and Lincoln City, on the day that Bradford City were supposed to have celebrated their winning the Football League Third Division trophy.
It is believed that the fire started when a spectator discarded smoking materials (by one report, a lit cigarette end put in a polystyrene cup) by dropping them down a gap at the back of a terrace seat, because those terraces did not have risers; it fell into the empty space under the main stand and onto a pile of trash (litter, lint, newspapers and other paper, dust) that had been accumulating under the stand for approximately 20 years.
Five minutes before half-time, white smoke was seen rising from the rear of the 77-year-old wooden stand. The police began to move fans from the rear of G Block, the area in which the fire started. Three minutes later, after flames emerged from beneath the stand, match referee Don Shaw stopped the match, which the Football Association ultimately declared to be a 0-0 draw, the score when the game was abandoned.
All thoughts of the match were now forgotten as people were evacuated onto the playing field. The fire rapidly took hold 90 seconds later, after a flashover occurred throughout G Block, with the entire main stand then engulfed within two minutes. Whilst most escaped onto the playing field, others seated towards the rear of the stand were trapped in the narrow rear corridor at the back of the stand. Most of the fire’s fatalities were found along this corridor where they had been overcome by toxic smoke, by the rear inward opening exit doors and turnstile entrances, which had been locked to prevent unauthorized access after kickoff. Some strong men among the fans managed to break one of the locked exit doors open, which saved lives.
After flashover the fire raced along the stand’s wooden roof with wooden boards and hot burning melting tar falling from its bitumen-coated roof onto escaping fans below. The steel that the club said it intended to use to update the aging wooden roof the next Monday, was lying in the car park behind the stand awaiting fitting.
Thankfully there was no pitch-side fencing such as would figure in the Hillsborough Disaster (See #3).
56 people died in the fire, with almost 250 of the most injured overwhelming local hospitals. A further 200 needed first aid treatment at the ground and countless others of the least seriously burned treated themselves in their homes or in the houses that the local community opened up immediately around Valley Parade. The match was being recorded by Yorkshire Television for transmission on their Sunday afternoon regional football show The Big Match. Coverage of the fire was transmitted minutes after the event on the live ITV Saturday afternoon sports programme World of Sport. The inquiry into the disaster led to the introduction of new legislation to improve safety at the UK’s football grounds. One of the main outcomes of the inquiry was prohibiting the construction of new wooden grandstands at all UK sports grounds. Duh. Wood is a bad idea, ok? FOX controversially aired footage of the disaster in the program When Good Times Go Bad 3 (Gotta love FOX). They incorrectly blamed supporters for deliberately starting the fire; and the program used punning language such as “as rabid as American fans can get, they can’t hold a candle to soccer fans around the world”. (We also have no qualms about using said language, because it’s friggin’ true. However - this is not a good example - the Bradford fire is an unfortunate accident exacerbated by bad stadium design).
The footage of the fire is a sore point with Bradford City people and Yorkshire Television - they will do anything in their power to make sure it stays off YouTube. However, you can find it on WikiLeaks.
Honestly - the video of this event is horrifying. While initially “small”, the fire quickly spreads to the above canopy. From there, it’s only a few minutes before the whole stand goes up. People who made it to the field are actually celebrating the event, like they’re at Burning Man or something. Ironically, they (literally) were. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets their flesh burned off, isn’t it?
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I'm not going to watch that again as it made me nearly sick the first time I saw it all those years ago. It was ok until you saw the guy on fire. The Policemen were trying to put the flames out on him and some of the crowd thought they were attacking him so started on them - fooktards!!! Thankfully they quickly realised that the police were helping him.
That was a sad day
Sometimes Police Officers give more than just speeding tickets!
It’s hard to be fit as a fiddle when you’re shaped like a cello!