Dramatic scenes from the past are brought vividly to life in a new book charting major blazes tackled by West Yorkshire’s fire crews over the past four decades.
Images of Fire has been released to mark the 40 years since seven city/county borough brigades amalgamated to form the present-day service. Bradford, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Halifax were among centres brought together.
Revealing the bravery of firefighters on the ground at major incidents, the pictures capture the physicality of the action close-up, as well as the emotional story often etched on their faces. And Bradford features heavily in the line-up.
Examples in the book include the 1985 Bradford City fire disaster which claimed 56 lives; the 1994 mill fire in Spring Mill Street; Bradford, and the Allied Colloids chemical plant blaze in Low Moor in 1992.
The book also takes a look back in time at how the brigade has evolved through technological and cultural changes.
West Yorkshire Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said: “Images of Fire is dedicated to all the men and women who have helped provide and deliver a tremendous service to West Yorkshire over the last 40 years.”
Mr Pilling uses the book to pay lasting tribute to firefighter Jeff Naylor, who made the ultimate sacrifice when he died in July 1983, over two months after suffering severe burns trying to rescue children from a house fire in Keighley.
He was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery. The fire also claimed the lives of two children, but three youngsters were saved.
The book – unveiled as the service’s new command and control was officially opened yesterday – was compiled by a small team at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service working with former Devon Chief Fire Officer Neil Wallington. Mr Wallington is a prolific writer about the work of the fire service and Images of Fire is his 18th book.