ON THE WEB SINCE 2005

Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include Edward VII, who maintained a kit at a London fire station.

"THE RESCUE" - 1855

"THE RESCUE" - 1855

November 04, 2008

DOCKLANDS ABLAZE

Photo: Museum of London
West India Docks, Sept. 7, 1941

The Docklands were a prime target for German bombers during the Blitz of 1940-41, and firefighters faced a variety of hazards.

In the 1949 book ``Fire Service Memoirs,'' Chief Fire Officer Aylmer Firebrace recalled:

``There were pepper fires, loading the surrounding air heavily with stinging particles so that when a fireman took a deep breath it felt like breathing fire itself.

``There were rum fires, with torrents of blazing liquid pouring from the warehouse door and barrels exploding like bombs themselves.

``There was a paint fire, another cascade of white hot flame, coating the pump with varnish that could not be cleaned off for weeks.

``A rubber fire gave forth black clouds of smoke that could only be fought from a distance, always threatening to choke the attackers.''