"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

January 29, 2010

DREAM CITY - 1994

On Feb. 28, 1994, a homeless man surrendered to police for setting a blaze claimed 11 lives at an adult theater in Clerkenwell.

The fire on Feb. 26 at Dream City, near Smithfield Market, injured 13 others.

Witnesses reported seeing a man with a red gasoline can before the flames erupted at the unlicensed theater.

"It was a horrific incident - the worst I have experienced in 30 years," said Ken Emsley, commander of the Euston fire station, who was quoted by The Independent. "It was absolutely chaotic. We were working under extreme conditions, with so many people trying to get out of the building."

According to the newspaper:

"Dream City showed straight and gay sex films and occupied the second and third floors. Witnesses said flames engulfed all floors within minutes of the building 'exploding'. The injured suffered severe burns, broken bones and the effects of smoke inhalation. Some jumped from third-floor windows. The pavement outside became strewn with dead and injured as police and ambulancemen battled to revive badly burned victims."

The fire was set by a "deaf, homeless man called David Lauwers" who had a disgreement with the doorman, according to Wikipedia. Lauwers surrendered at the Walthamstowe police station, and a court sentenced him to life in prison.