Folklore Department Fires

(It is said that We Have Never Had a Fire in Physics)

Biology Fire

The Biology fire was in 1973, starting at about half past five on a winter's evening. The fire brigade were called out but seemed initially unsure of what to do - as the fire spread through the building, they chucked water at the outside. After a bit, they started to throw bricks at the windows to get some water inside.

The fire spread because of the open loftspace of the building. A large number of fire engines were eventually on the scene, pumping water from the lake. It is possible that they were delayed by the low covered walkways which they couldn't get under.

One consequence of the fire was that all the rubbish chutes in residence blocks were sealed up, as such chutes had been blamed for the fire spreading so quickly in Biology.

Information comes Dave Jones; and from Mat Hill and Peter Utley who were present at the time and took the following photos. (The poor resolution of the photos is because it was dark at the time, and have been scanned and enhanced to show the detail.) Click on the thumbnail for the jpg version, each is about 60k.

Various firemen on ladders and the fire tender spraying water on the roof. (Note the clock, stopped at 5:30)

Firemen on the roof.

Two firemen wondering if where there's smoke there's fire.

Fire engines drawing water from the lake; onlookers loitering in the background.

Another fireman up another ladder. (That might be the fire in the window.)

Inspecting the damage.

Chemistry Fire

The Chemistry fire took place in the early hours of May 20 1980, in A block. This block housed many of the department's records and stores, and the loss was a serious setback. The fire brigade had a severe problem identifying boxes, jars and cylinders of chemicals with the labels burnt off.

The cause of the fire has been attributed to a faulty power supply for a calculator. [Certainly the Physics department has a distrust of such devices. Ed]

More details when we have 'em.

Related pages:

* Campus buildings
* College Fires

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