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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Everyday Life

Glasgow Fire Service

By Robert H James

Cheapside Street Fire As the 1950s progressed, Glasgow Fire Service, as the brigade was now called following the re-organisation of Scottish fire brigades in 1948, was responding to emergency calls that were rising at an alarming rate. By the 1960s Glasgow had acquired an unenviable reputation as the "Tinderbox City" due to the large number of major fires and fire deaths. On 28 March 1960, a large whisky bond fire in Cheapside Street escalated into a national disaster when an explosion inside the building blew its walls out. Fourteen Glasgow Firemen and five men from Glasgow Salvage Corps who were working in the streets below were buried under the falling masonry and all nineteen were killed where they stood. Throughout that decade and into the early 1970s the high number of multiple fire related deaths in the city continued with Glasgow firemen also paying a heavy price. In the space of only twelve years, twenty-six men of the Glasgow Fire Service died doing their duty, a figure unparalleled by any other brigade in the UK, except during the Second World War.

Kilbirnie Street Fire During these difficult years a steadily increasing number of officers from the Fire Prevention Section worked diligently towards making Glasgow a safer place to live and work. By the mid-1970s the situation showed marked improvement. In August 1973 the brigade appointed its first Community Relations Fire Officer, a pioneering appointment wherein Glasgow now led the way forward by being pro-active in fire safety education.

Glasgow Scoosher Glasgow Fire Service also continued to be an innovative force in fire-fighting technology, either by designing its own unique appliances such as the Mark I Scoosher, or by sourcing appliances not normally included in British fleets such as Magirus-Deutz Water Tender Escapes and Turntable Ladders from Germany.

North West Fire Station In May 1975, re-organisation of the existing Local Authorities took place and Glasgow Fire Service was amalgamated into the newly formed Strathclyde Fire Brigade.

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