Two firemen died and eight were taken to hospital in a blaze in underground stores at Smithfield Market today.
L.V. Fire engine arriving at scene
C.U. Pan smoke bellowing from market.
C.U. Firemen playing hose.
S.V. Firemen pan to smoke bellowing from basement opening.
S.V. Ambulances pan to policeman with walkie talkie.
L.V. Smoke bellowing from building.
G.V.Pan Market porters past camera one with handkerchief over mouth.
S.V. Firemen pan to smoke from basement.
S.V. Porters past camera with meat on barrows.
L.V. Ditto and smoke from building.
C.U. track into market and firemen pint and look upwards.
S.V. Inside market-firemen side of barrow.
S.V. Meat in market pan to policemen.
Pan up Hoses to firemen.
C.U. Firemen wearing breathing apparatus.
L.V. Smoke belching from basement.
S.V. Fireman descends another basement opening.
L.V. Smoke belching from building.
C.U. Firemen fixing breathing apparatus.
G.V. Market and smoke.
S.V. Corner of market and smoke.
C.U. Fireman type.
L.V. People looking on.
C.U. Porters " ".
L.V. Smoke from building.
C.U. Fireman fixes breathing appliance.
S.V. Smoke from basement pan to firemen.
C.U. Chief fireman.
L.V. Market and smoke.
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Background: Two firemen died and eight were taken to hospital in a blaze in underground stores at Smithfield Market today.
More than 100 firemen fought the blaze. First-aid posts were set up and ambulances sent in. About 20 men were given on-the-spot treatment.
Six hours after the blaze started the fire was still not under control. One fireman said: "I have been in the Fire Brigade for eleven years and it is the worst I have experienced."
Billowing smoke got thicker and thicker. It poured into the great London Central Market immediately above it and it had to be closed.
Conditions in the vast labyrinth of storerooms and passages were so difficult that firemen - wearing breathing apparatus could stay below ground for only ten minutes at a time. The men were tied to one another with lifelines.
The two who died were Station Officer F. Fortwell and Fireman R.Stocking, both of Clerkenwell Fire Station. A desperate hunt for them began when it was discovered they were missing in the early stages of the outbreak, which was discovered at 2.18 a.m.
The fire was in the basement of the Union Cold Storage Company. Firemen with walkie-talkie equipment directed the operation. At 7.30 a.m., five hours after the outbreak, radio calls were still being sent out to Brigade Headquarters for relief men and breathing apparatus.
A senior fire officer said: "We have no idea of the geography or the size of the rabbit warren down below. Only four of my men, working in pairs, are able to get anywhere near the fire. It is surrounded by wooden cases of poultry stacked from floor to ceiling. It is really a race against time," he added. "The entire hall below has been impregnated with fat over the years."
Firemen were going down from three street entrances. The flames were about 70 feet in from the nearest point.