The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has marked the loss of seven firefighters on the 50th anniversary of the Kilbirnie Street warehouse fire in Glasgow.
The men were remembered at a service which was held at Glasgow Cathedral on 25 August and led by the Rev Mark E Johnstone, with SFRS chaplains, Rev Gordon Armstrong and Father Jim Thomson also in attendance.
Tributes were read by Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Glasgow Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren and SFRS Interim Chief Officer Ross Haggart, while SFRS Area Commander David Murdoch, Local Senior Officer for Glasgow lead a moment of reflection on Kilbirnie Street. Also in attendance was SFRS Board Chair Dr Kirsty Darwent and SFRS Interim Deputy Chief Officer Stuart Stevens.
Prior to the service, the SFRS formed a guard of honour and laid a wreath at the city’s Necropolis in front of relatives and friends, who also paid their respects.
The men who lost their lives at Kilbirnie Street were Divisional Officer Andrew Quinn, Leading Firefighter Alistair Crofts and Firefighters Iain Bermingham, Allan Finlay, William Hooper, Duncan McMillan and James Rook.
Shortly after 11.20am on Friday, 25 August 1972 crews from the former Glasgow Fire Service raced to the scene of a ferocious blaze at the Sher Brothers warehouse.
As firefighters tried to exit the building, firefighter James Rook became trapped by stock that had fallen on top of him. Divisional Officer Andrew Quinn led a team of volunteers to try to find and rescue him.
Unfortunately, as the search party entered the building the fire ignited the hardwood ceilings on the first floor, causing a massive ‘flashover’ leading to their deaths.
SFRS Interim Chief Officer Ross Haggart said: ‘It is an honour to be here today and to remember the seven firefighters who lost their lives at Kilbirnie Street. Our thoughts will always firmly remain with their families and friends.
‘As we come together on this 50th anniversary of the tragedy, we also thank everyone for their attendance and continued support. This is a fitting tribute to seven brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice to help save lives and protect their communities.
‘Their lives will never be forgotten and their spirit lives on in each and every one of our firefighters today as they approach their role with that same commitment and selfless dedication.’
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf said: ‘I am grateful to be able to pay tribute at the 50th anniversary of the Kilbirnie Street fire to the brave officers who lost their lives that day and to acknowledge the devastating impact it has had on their families.
‘It is a moment to remember their sacrifice, and also to recognise the dedication to duty shown by the thousands of firefighters across Scotland who continue to risk their lives to protect us.’