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King's Cross Fire

Sue MacGregor gathers together five people who were profoundly affected by the Kings Cross Underground fire, which killed 31 people.

Sue MacGregor brings together five people who were profoundly affected by the Kings Cross Fire in London, in which 31 people died and many others suffered physical and psychological scarring.

It's 25 years since the publication of a damning report on the fire - the worst in the history of the London Underground. Tony Ridley, had been managing director of the service for five years. His success in reversing a long decline in use of the underground was overshadowed by accusations of a blind spot over passenger safety, particularly over wooden escalators.

Law lecturer Sophie Tarrasenko was travelling to King Cross that evening in November 1987. She was forced to get off at an earlier stop because of a fire. It was not until the next day that she learned that her brother had been killed in the blaze. She went on to set up a Family Support Group to improve treatment of bereaved families.

Kwasi Afari Minta was the most badly burned of the survivors. The musician from Ghana sustained terrible burns to his face and endured numerous operations during his six months in hospital. He lost his battle for compensation and now survives on benefits.

Steve Heather was a leading firefighter that night. He remembers being completely disorientated while struggling in intense heat and pitch black. He also lost a close colleague, station officer Colin Townsley.

Lindsay Taylor was a reporter for London radio station LBC and always carried his recording equipment with him. By chance, he was travelling through Kings Cross when fire broke out. He spent most of the next 48 hours there documenting events as well as reporting on the subsequent memorial service and compensation battles.

Producer: Karen Pirie
Series Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

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45 minutes

Last on

Fri 19 Apr 2013 09:00

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