London Fire Brigade

Historical incidents

Although the Great Fire of London happened in 1666, it took 200 years before the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, which later became London Fire Brigade, was formed on 1 January 1866.

We have looked back at some of the most significant and some of the more unusual incidents that have taken place in our history. From the 'Brigade's coldest fire' in 1931 through the Moorgate tube disaster in the 70s, we've commemorated some of our greatest achievements and losses.


19 January 1917: Silvertown explosion
Seventy-three people were killed and more than 400 injured in an explosion at a munitions factory.

23 January 1958: Smithfield Market fire
Over 380 fire engines and 1,700 firefighters tackled a blaze in a cold storage. Tragically two firefighters lost their lives.

25 January 1980: Limehouse ship fire
A firefighter was killed while tackling a fire on board a ship in east London.

30 January 1918: Albertment Embankment fire
A three-storey warehouse collapsed leading to the greatest single loss of London firefighters during peacetime.

09 February 2008: Camden Market fire
Twenty fire engines and more than 100 firefighters attended a blaze at that ravaged the wooden stalls of the tourist hotspot.

28 February 1975: Moorgate tube crash
The worst ever accident on the London Underground during peacetime.

04 March 1989: Purley train crash
Two trains collided claiming the lives of five people and injuring 88.

07 March 1931: Butler's Wharf fire
The Brigade's 'coldest fire' as firefighters battled extreme weather conditions.

19 April 1941: Largest single loss of fire brigade personnel in English history
A direct hit from a Luftwaffe bomber on a temporary fire station during the war.

11 May 1954: Covent Garden warehouse fire
A blaze near to Covent Garden needed 24 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters to extinguish.

21 May 2007: Cutty Sark fire
While undergoing restoration, a blaze engulfed the famous ship.

06 June 1969: Leinster Towers
'Excellence of firefighting' meant not a single life was lost when a blaze broke out in a 200-bedroom hotel near Hyde Park.

07 July 2005: 7/7 bombings
A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in central London killed 52 people and injured hundreds more.

17 July 1969: Dudgeon's Wharf explosion
Five firefighters and a construction worker died in the largest loss of life in the Brigade from a single incident since the World War II.

09 August 1971: Wilson's Wharf fire
More than 300 firefighters tackled a blaze in an unoccupied refrigerated warehouse in Southwark.

12 August 2012: Dagenham recycling centre
Smoke could be seen across the city from one of the capital's largest fires in several years.

16 August 1980: Denmark Place fire
The deadliest fire in London since the Second World War when a deliberately started fire claimed the lives of 37 people.

25 September 1935: Colonial Wharf fire
As many as 600 firefighters, 11 miles of hose and 70 million gallons of water were used during four day blaze.

5 October 1999: Ladbroke Grove (Paddington) rail disaster
Thirty one people were killed and hundreds more injured when two passenger trains collided.

7 October 1940: Soho fire station bombed
Several firefighters and two passers-by were killed when a Luftwaffe bomb hit the building.

22 October 2000: Remembering the Zotefoams factory fire
Fifty-foot flames could be seen as fire caused millions of pounds worth of damage.

18 November 1987: King's Cross fire
Thirty one people were killed, including a senior firefighter, and many more seriously injured when a fire broke out on an escalator.

30 November 1936: The Crystal Palace fire
Flames could be seen across the capital as more than 380 firefighters tackled the blaze.

4 December 1964: The Bishopsgate Goodsyard fire
Two people died and millions of pounds worth of damage were caused by a fire in a freight train depot on Shoreditch High Street.

7 December 1882: The Alhambra theatre fire
Two firefighters died as a result of the Alhambra theatre fire, which tested the expertise of the Brigade.

11 December 2005: Buncefield fuel depot fire
Sixteen fire services were involved in tackling the largest peacetime fire in the UK.

12 December 1988: Clapham train crash
Thirty five people were killed and hundreds injured when three commuter trains collided at Europe's busiest railway station.

13 December 1974: Worsley Hotel fire
Seven people were killed, including a firefighter, after a fire was deliberately started in a hotel in Maida Vale.

29 December 1940: The Second Great Fire of London
Around 100,000 bombs were dropped onto the capital by Luftwaffe aircraft causing a blaze so ferocious it became known as the Second Great Fire of London.


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