Gabby Logan’s story “Bradford fire will live with me forever”


Update: Gabby expanded on this story during an article in the Times on Saturday Feb 23rd 2013. Gabby Logan article from The Times

The fire at Bradford City’s Valley Parade stadium in which 56 people died and more than 270 were injured is remembered 25 years on.

Gabby LoganAlthough I was only 12 at the time, 11 May 1985 is a day that will live with me forever.

Terry Yorath, my father, was assistant coach at Bradford City Football Club. They were playing Lincoln City on the last Saturday of the season.

There was a great sense of excitement and occasion, as the club had just been promoted to the second division.

I was in the players’ lounge when, just before half time, a woman told us all, quite calmly, that a fire had started in the wooden stand. A cigarette butt had ignited rubbish underneath it.

We were very close to a door and quickly got out on to the street, then moved quietly to a nearby pub.

At first we had no idea what was going on, but even as a child I could sense how serious it was.

One of the most overwhelming things about this fire was that it spread so quickly – in just four minutes the entire stand was an inferno.

Trapped on stand

Hundreds of people in the stand were trapped between the burning roof and the burning floor.

My father, who had been on the pitch, was quickly moved to safety along with the players.

He went to the players’ lounge and found it empty, but in another bar found people still drinking without knowing what was happening.

He managed to get everyone there out, but by then couldn’t get out through the door, so he jumped from a 20ft-high window.

Trying to find his parents and our other family members, he went round to the main stand and saw fans trying desperately, in vain, to get out on to the street.

They were trapped because the exit gates and turnstiles were locked.

It was a couple of hours before I saw my father.

The rest of this article can be read on the BBC website here