January, 1977

This is a repeating event

197704JanAll DayBraehead Container Depot Fire 1977Renfrew (GB)Industry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:FIREHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Injuries)Effects:< 100 InjuriesMaterial:Various


On 4 January 1977, a serious fire and explosion occurred at the Braehead Container Clearance Depot at Renfrew in Scotland.

The fire and explosion, which originated at a warehouse occupied by James Kelman Transport and Storage, completely wrecked that warehouse and the adjacent whisky bonded warehouse occupied by Clyde Container Services Ltd and also caused widespread window and roof damage to domestic, commercial, industrial and public property within a radius of a mile of the premises. The cost of the damage is estimated at some £6 000 000.

It was fortunate that, despite the extent of the damage, only twelve members of the public and one watchman were treated for shock and minor injuries. After investigation had eliminated one cause of fire after another it was discovered that it had accidently been started by three boys who had lit a fire to warm themselves at a den which they had made, during the New Year holiday, from cardboard cartons stacked beside the warehouse.

Subsequent experimental work tended to suggest that explosions of this nature and severity can be caused by the involvement of commercially pure sodium chlorate under the intense heat conditions of an industrial fire.

Report: https://www.icheme.org/media/13693/the-fire-and-explosion-at-braehead-container-depot-renfrew.pdf

Image Credit: HSE


HSEUK Health & Safety Executive