Scotland marks 60th anniversary of Cheapside Street fire disaster

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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service today pays tribute to the 19 men who died in the Cheapside Street disaster in Glasgow 60 years ago.

Fourteen firefighters and five members of the Salvage Corps died while tackling a fire at the Arbuckle, Smith and Company whisky bond, on the evening of March 28, 1960.

An explosion within the building caused its 60-foot walls to crash down into Cheapside Street and Warroch Street, in what remains the largest peacetime loss of life ever suffered by Britain’s fire and rescue services.

As the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is unable to hold its annual service of remembrance due to restrictions on public gatherings amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Chief Officer Martin Blunden will attend the city’s Necropolis on his own to lay a wreath at the firefighter memorial statue.

CO Blunden 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 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.”

Today, we remember: Sub Officer James Calder, Sub Officer 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, Supt. Salvageman Edward Murray, Leading Salvageman James McLellan, Salvagemen Gordon McMillan, James Mungall and William Oliver


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