The King’s Cross Fire



King’s Cross is a railway station in London, United Kingdom. It has several underground platforms.

In the 1980s smoking was allowed on the Lonfon Underground Railway. The escalators were made of wood. There was grease under the escalators to help them work.

One evening in October 1987 someone dropped a cigarette on the escalator in the station. A small fire broke out on the escalator. The grease underneath the escalator ignited. Soon the fire spread and the whole escalator was aflame.

It was evening rush hour when the fire broke out. There were thousands of passengers in the railway station. Some of them were soon spluttering in the smoke. Others caught fire. Those nearest the exit managed to dash to safety.

The fire alarm sounded as soon as the fire became substantial. Trains stopped coming into King’s Cross Station. Much of the rail network was shut down because of this. Those trains due to leave then departed the station to get passengers to safety.

The fire brigade arrived within minutes. They battled the blaze with hoses. The firemen went down into the station to rescued people trapped by the roaring flames.

The fire chief was one of those burnt to death. 23 people were killed by the fire. They were all soon identified. One was a homeless man whose name was not known.

A plaque is up in the station to commemorate those killed by this disaster. Smoking was immediately outlawed on the underground.


  1. In which year did this fire occur?

2. How did the fire start?


3;  Which city is King’s Cross Station in?

4. Why did the fire spread fast?


5. Did the fire brigade come?


6. How many people died?


7. Why did trains leave the station during the fire?

8. How did the law change after the fire?


9. What are your feelings about this fire?


About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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