Football remembers: 24th anniversary of the Bradford fire


The Bradford Fire memorial in the Citys centenary square | photo: nuala

Football would never be the same after May 11th 1985 when Bradford City paid host to Lincoln City. Bradford were celebrating after winning promotion to Division Two and Peter Jackson (now Lincoln manager) was presented with the championship trophy in front of 11,000 spectators.

However, at 3:40pm just before half time, a stray cigarette butt which was discarded on to a plastic cup set alight rubbish which gathered beneath Bradford’s wooden stand. Within minutes the whole stand was engulfed by flames.

Supporters desperately fled the scene trying to escape the fire, some spilled on to the pitch; others desperately went to the exits where they met locked gates.

Fifty six people including two Lincoln City fans died in the fire and ever since the two cities have had a deep emotional bond.

An inquiry after the fire came up with two recommendations to stop an event like Bradford ever happening again. These were the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987 and the revision of the Green Guide which was issued by the Home Office.

Every year a memorial takes place in Bradford’s centenary square at 11am on the fateful day which is attended by both Mayors of the two cities.

At Lincoln, a stand at Sincil Bank which was rebuilt after the fire, is named the Stacey West stand, in memory of Jim Stacey and Bill West who were the Lincoln fans who died.

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