Cheapside Street fire: Tributes to 19 killed in 1960 disaster

image source, SFRS

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has paid tribute to 19 firefighters and crew who died tackling a warehouse blaze 60 years ago.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, a wreath was laid at a memorial in Glasgow instead of the usual service.

Fourteen firefighters and five members of the Salvage Corps died tackling a blaze at a whisky bond in Cheapside Street, on 28 March 1960.

It was the biggest loss of life ever suffered by the UK's fire services.

The SFRS was unable to hold its annual service of remembrance due to restrictions on public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic

Instead, Chief Officer Martin Blunden paid his respects at the city's Necropolis on his own, laying a wreath at the firefighter memorial statue on Saturday morning.

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He said: "Today we remember the 19 men who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people of Glasgow from harm.

"The loss at Cheapside Street was catastrophic. It continues to resonate to this day, and the spirit and bravery of these firefighters will never be forgotten.

"It is, of course, unfortunate that we can't hold the conventional service of remembrance this year.

"However, while we have been unable to gather together today, the memories of those who fell are still uppermost in our minds on this poignant date.

"These men were devoted fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. Their bravery represents a proud part of our history, and our thoughts will always be with their families."

image source, PA Media
image captionAn explosion inside the building caused its 60ft walls to crash down into Cheapside Street and Warroch Street.

An explosion inside the building caused its 60ft walls to crash down into the streets below.

The men who died putting out the fire at the Arbuckle, Smith and Company bond were:

  • Sub officers James Calder and John McPherson;
  • Firemen John Allan, Christopher Boyle, Gordon Chapman, William Crocket, Archibald Darroch, Daniel Davidson, Alfred Dickinson, Alexander Grassie, George McIntyre, Edward McMillan, Ian McMillan and William Watson;
  • Superintendent salvageman Edward Murray,
  • Leading salvageman James McLellan; and
  • Salvagemen Gordon McMillan, James Mungall and William Oliver.