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Risk of Fires at Sports Stadium

When you go to an athletic event, you rarely think a fire will break out. Typically, most stadiums follow a tight protocol to protect its visitors from all risks of fire. However, there are certain sets of circumstances that are 'perfect storms.' If you attend sporting events - whether it's pro, minor-league, local teams, or your own kids' sports teams, it's a good idea for you to be aware of how fast a fire can erupt and what precautions to take. Today, we are going to look at a fire that broke out at an outdoor soccer stadium in Bradford, England and learn a few lessons.

This particular fire took place on May 11, 1985. It was a Saturday afternoon, and from this fire, 56 people died and over 300 were injured. A fire was ignited under the main grandstand, which had approximately 5,000 people in that section. It appears that there was an accumulation of trash and debris under the bleachers, and a smoking material, likely a cigarette, was thrown down there, which ignited the trash. People who were closest to the fire saw it and moved to other areas; however, those in the remote area of the grandstand continued to watch the game. According to video footage, the fire spread the length of the 290 ft. stand in less than 5 minutes.

As the spectators began to realize what was going on, they jumped physical barriers right onto the field, realizing that the rear exits were not usable. While the grandstand did have a PA system, it was not used during this fire. Additionally, it did not have a standpipe system nor automatic sprinklers. It only took 4 minutes from the time smoke was noticed until flames were 5 feet high and that section of seating was filled with smoke. Four minutes.

In 5 minutes, flames were hitting the roof.

Those seated in the last rows of this area were the last to move to the aisles to evacuate. Because of the smoke, they had difficulty finding the exits; other found exits but they were locked. As a result, there was not a sufficient amount of time for those trapped there to get to the working exits, and that is where most of the casualties occurred.

What this tells us is that we have a responsibility when we go to public events like this. It's up to every individual to know the best ways to escape in the case of an emergency as well as have a plan of action for your group should an emergency situation arise. We also need to take it seriously if we see anything that could indicate a fire, such as smoke. Thankfully, occurrences like this are rare, but it's better to be prepared than caught off guard.

Owners of sports stadiums and arenas, large or small, have a responsibility to keep the facilities up to code and compliant with all fire safety laws. If you notice that a sports facility seems run-down or not well-maintained, it would be wise to think twice about attending events there.

At Manhattan Flameproofing, we are committed to fire safety and fire prevention. We know how quickly a tragic fire could ignite, and through our flameproofing treatments for businesses, we are proud to play our part in keeping Manhattan and all of the Greater Metro NYC area protected from fires. If you have questions or flameproofing needs, please call today. We would be happy to answer questions or concerns, as well as provide a free flameproofing quote for your business: 1-800-268-7993

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