Kings Cross Tube fire anniversary sparks union safety fears

14:25 18 November 2012

Bob Crow claims management has been "pig-headed". File picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Bob Crow claims management has been "pig-headed". File picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Union leaders marking the 25th anniversary of the devastating King’s Cross Tube station fire today demanded the scrapping of proposed staffing cuts.

Thirty one people died in the fire. File picture: PAThirty one people died in the fire. File picture: PA

Thirty-one people died when a fire on an escalator ripped through part of the station on the evening of November 18, 1987.

The fire was thought to have been caused by a dropped match and a subsequent public inquiry led to tighter safety standards on London Underground.

But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) claims that London Mayor Boris Johnson’s “threat” to cut station and platform staffing levels and introduce driverless trains would make the Underground unsafe again.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “We are here today first of all to show our sympathy and our condolences to the people who lost their lives 25 years ago.

Wooden escalators were replaced on the Tube: PA/PA WireWooden escalators were replaced on the Tube: PA/PA Wire

“I worked for London Underground 25 years, I remember that night still vividly.

“It could have been me travelling home, my family, my friends, it could have been you, it could have been anyone that particular night.”

Mr Crow said the recommendations made after the fire had made the Underground safer, as witnessed during terrorist attacks and emergencies on the Tube over the last quarter of a century.

“What we are seeing now is a number of people who want to reduce costs if they can,” he said.

“We can’t allow for the accountants of Transport for London or the Government to try and reduce the staffing and make it unsafe for London Underground workers and the people that use the Tube.”

More than 100 people were taken to hospital after the King’s Cross fire.

One of those killed was fireman Colin Townsley. He was posthumously awarded a certificate of commendation for his bravery, as were five other firemen who survived.

Smoking was immediately banned on all parts of the Tube after the fire and wooden escalators were replaced.

For many years, the identity of one of the 31 victims of the disaster remained a mystery.

But, finally, in January 2004, the 31st victim was named as 72-year-old homeless Scotsman Alexander Fallon.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Computerised technology will enable us to interpret dogs’ behavioural signals.

Read more

From feeding your tiger to defending your ‘castle’ – there’s more than one reason to carve a pumpkin.

Read more

If you were at London Bridge Station last Sunday you may have noticed a giant signal gantry that wasn’t there the night before…

Read more

Promotions

BT Home Smart Cam

When I was first told by my boss that I would be doing a review on the BT Smart Cam 100 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Before even looking at the product I was picturing it as nothing more than a web cam with a fancy name.

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Investigators and scientists have made an initial assessment of the launch site as they attempt to work out how the launch of a commercial resupply ship ended so dramatically. The team has taken a “cursory look” around the site with Nasa saying it will take many more weeks to understand and analyse the full effects […]

Armageddon actress Liv Tyler dressed up her baby bump as a bun in the oven for Halloween.

It’s cost Rio Ferdinand a £25k fine and a three-match ban, but what do people think of the word sket?

The fashion giant’s have been called out for promoting an unhealthy body image with their skeletal dummies.

TOP Stories

33 minutes ago
Drivers on the Northern Line are being balloted for strike action over a colleague who was sacked (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Tube drivers on the Northern Line are being balloted on potential strike action over the sacking of a colleague for allegedly drinking on the job.

59 minutes ago
Surinder Singh was sentenced to 12 months and ten years on the sex offenders' register for the triple assualt [Photograph from Metropolitan Police]

A man caught sexually assaulting three women on the Tube has been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.

Kamran Khan, Romaine Callender, Aamir Yousef, Sean Cephinis and Tevin Forde have been jailed for numerous guns and drug offences (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A gang who buried guns, ammunition, heroin and crack cocaine in a park in north west London have been jailed for more than 42 years.

London Bloggers

10:07
The Appilepsy team: Phil Efstathiou, Alex Telek , Clarence Ji, Miklos Molnar, Joran van Apeldoorn

In Tech City, things move fast. And sometimes erratically. Like phones in the pockets of people having epileptic seizures.

Friday, October 24, 2014
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit: