Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include Edward VII.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


1: Rescuers lower carbon dioxide monitors into cavities to check for breathing
2: Sensitive sound equipment detects vibrations which the human ear cannot pick up
3: People in collapsed buildings can survive for days in pockets formed by sturdy items such as drinks machines or filing cabinets

Photos: BBC

Thank you to Fire Journal reader John Brown for telling us about the May 11, 2004, explosion at the Stockline Plastics factory at Woodside, Glasgow. The accident claimed nine lives and injured about 40 others. The owner of the plant was cited for safety violations. Queen Elizabeth II commended the emergency services for their work.

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Grandfare store fire at Cowcaddens and Maitland streets, Glasgow, September 1966

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Rescuer, identified in BBC photo as John Stewart, carries child from ruins

On the nights of March 13 and 14, 1941, German aircraft targeted the Scottish town of Clydebank and the surrounding area with bombs and incendiaries.

It was a prime destination for destruction - and the wartime fire and rescue services performed valiantly, battling the blazes and burrowing for victims.

Factories in the city, part of greater Glasgow, manufactured aircraft engines and munitions for World War Two. There were also shipyards.

Workers living in nearby tenements sustained terrible losses, with t
he attacks killing 
528 people and injuring more than 600 others, according to the BBC.

On March 14, the previous night's fires ``were still blazing furiously, and the enemy, taking full advantage of the resultant illumination, carried out a further attack,'' according to an article entitled ``Clydside's  Ordeal By Fire'' by M. Chadwick.

 ''The seriousness of the situation can be gauged by the necessity to put into action over 200 pumps with the proportionate number of officers and men,'' 
according to the Chadwick article, posted on the website of Graeme Kirkwood.

Chadwick also told the story of fire brigade m
essenger boy Neil Leitch, age 16, who was repeatedly thrown from his bicycle on March 13, peddling to the Partick Fire Station to deliver his message:

``On one occasion, he was so badly injured that he was carried into a first aid dressing station. After the minimum amount of attention, he insisted upon proceeding with his message, contrary to the advice of the ambulance officers.

``He informed them that he must get this message through, as it was very important, and in spite of his injuries, continued on his way to Partick Fire Station. Just before he reached the Station, it was hit by a high explosive oil bomb and he received further injuries. Despite this, he heroically carried on and finally delivered the message.''

Tragically, Leitch succumbed to his injuries, Chadwick wrote.

was gazetted by King George VI for his bravery and his nephew, James Leitch, went on to serve in the fire brigade, according to the BBC.

At a 2015 tribute to Leitch and others like him who died in the line of duty, senior fire officer George McGrandles of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said:

The role of the boy messengers isn't widely known but it was absolutely vital. They took on an incredibly dangerous role to ensure fire crews could get to where they were needed even when bombs destroyed communications channels.''

James Leitch said:  
"I grew up hearing about my uncle Neil ... These boys were forgotten. To me they deserve recognition.''

Monday, December 18, 2017


Photos: STV

On Dec. 18, 2017, fire killed two people at the luxury Cameron House hotel and resort on Loch Lomond.

Fourteen appliances and more than 70 firefighters were at the scene at the height of the blaze, which was reported at about 6:40 a.m., the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said.

The 18th Baronial century mansion was converted to a hotel and resort in 1986, the Telegraph reported.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


On Nov. 19, 1905, a fire at a Glasgow lodging house claimed 39 lives.

Known as No. 2 Home, the building at 39 Watson Street housed more than 300 men.

Recalling the fire a century later, the 
Scotsman newspaper said:

``Firemen struggling to reach those trapped inside had to battle up the single stairway, pushing their way through the throng of panic-stricken men flooding towards the one exit.

``The fire had started on the fourth floor, just below the attic where yet more men slept. The firemen had only ten minutes in which to mount their rescue before they were forced back by the heat of the blaze.

``In this time they rescued nearly 40 men – men who would have surely perished but for their perseverance.''

Cut off from below, some residents took to the roof.

The Scotsman said:

``Donald McNab, who was physically disabled and used a rutch, later described seeing men hammering away in desperation at glass windows with their bare hands. He waited with a blind man and a paralysed man whilst the able-bodied around him tried to flee.

``One man, Jack Findlay – later hailed as a hero – used McNab's crutch to break the windows. He returned to help the three disabled men onto the roof and found a ladder leading to a neighbouring building. Over thirty men's lives were saved that way – over the roof, most naked in the bitter cold.''

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Post Card scene of Ingram Street

On Aug. 17, 1909, fire apparently triggered by a gas explosion destroyed buildings on Ingram Street, Glasgow, between Shuttle and High streets.

The Glasgow Story website said:

"Most of the buildings were warehouses thought to have contained wine, spirits, clothing and foodstuffs.

"At about 1 am the frontages of the buildings collapsed into the street

"The falling masonry narrowly missing several firemen, who had come to the scene from Central Fire Engine Station, just round the corner on College Street.

"It took all night to put the flames out and the cost of repairing the damage amounted to over £250,000."