Chiswick Fire Station Houses Unique Memorial To Kings Cross Tragedy

The appliance which first responded to the fire has been restored and rehomed

Fire chief congratulates retired fire officer who restored the fire engine
Deputy Fire Commissioner Tom George, pictured with retired station chief of Hillingdon, Richard Claydon, who had the appliance restored. Picture: London Fire Brigade


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The fire engine that took Station Officer (SO) Colin Townsley and his colleagues to the Kings Cross underground fire in 1987 is now restored, and being housed at Chiswick Fire Station.

Colin was in charge of the first pump fire engine DPL781,to arrive at the scene and he was down in the ticket hall at the time of the flashover which ripped through the station.

Thirty-one people died, including Colin, and 100 people were taken to hospital, some seriously injured, when the fire which spread through the station. It was believed to have started from a match which was dropped onto the wooden escalator.

SO Townsley's body was found beside that of a badly burnt passenger at the base of the exit steps to Pancras Road. It is believed that he spotted the passenger in difficulty and stopped to help her.

plaque to thos ekilled in the King s Cross fire

Some years later, former borough commander for Hillingdon, Richard Claydon, purchased the old fire engine and spent some time restoring it with a view towards it being a memorial.

He wrote to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner asking if London Fire Brigade could provide a location to store the engine and he was given permission for it to be permanently housed at Chiswick Fire Station.

Firefighters and Deputy Commissioner Tom George welcomed DPL781 to Chiswick Fire Station this week with a small ceremony. The appliance will be available for ceremonial and other occasions.

A plaque to those who lost their lives in the tragedy was also unveiled inside the station.

August 9, 2018

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