Disaster King’s Cross – Beneath the Flames

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BBC Videos for Education & Training have specially commissioned and created these Disaster programmes. The Disaster Specials look at how and why major disasters happen, and what can be learned from them. Disaster – Series 4 is specifically intended to focus and inform on issues relating to health and safety issues, crisis management and post-disaster supervision. Episode 1 King’s Cross – Over thirty people died in the Kings Cross underground fire, which broke out as commuters headed home on November 18, 1987. At around 19.30 a passenger on an escalator lit a cigarette and dropped the match. The results of this seemingly tiny action were disastrous. The miniscule fire fed on grease on the moving stairway and in 10 minutes had engulfed the wooden treads on the steps. Fifteen minutes later the flames had reached the Kings Cross ticket hall, then erupted in a fireball, filling the crowded station with poisonous black smoke. Many of those who died were killed instantly. Almost 15 years on, King’s Cross – Beneath the Flames, examines one of the UK’s worst ever disasters.