This week 60 years ago: Two Clerkenwell fire station crew members die in Smithfield Market disaster
PUBLISHED: 08:56 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 31 January 2018
PA Archive/PA Images
Two hero firefighters from Clerkenwell Fire Station died in the Smithfield Market disaster.
Three hundred people turned out for the funeral processions, starting outside the Rosebery Avenue station, of station officer Jack Fourt-Wells and fireman Richard Stocking.
The market blaze, just outside Islington’s Charterhouse Street boundary, started at the Union Cold Storage Co and burned for three days.
The fire was so bad that about 1,700 firefighters, and 389 fire engines, were called.
Mr Fourt-Wells and Mr Stocking lost their lives in the cold storage basement in the early stages of the battle.
They were wearing inadequate breathing apparatus, and their deaths prompted London Fire Brigade to overhaul its oxygen equipment and safety procedures.
Dozens more were injured. Millions of gallons of water were squirted, and the damage amounted to £2million: the equivalent of £44m today, according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.