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Case Ref : 19850511, Bradford City stadium fire
The Bradford City stadium fire occurred during a Football League Third Division match on Saturday, 11 May 1985 at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, killing 56 spectators and injuring at least 265. The stadium was known for its antiquated design and facilities, which included the wooden roof of the main stand. Previous warnings had also been given about a major build-up of litter in the cavity below the seats in the stand. The stand had been officially condemned and was due to be replaced with a steel structure after the season ended. Most Bradfordians accepted that the fire was a terrible piece of misfortune. A discarded cigarette and a dilapidated wooden stand, which had survived because the club did not have the money to replace it, and accumulated paper litter, were considered to have conspired to cause the worst disaster in the history of the Football League.
I have had discussions with a friend twice this week regarding football's worst tragedy, ie the fire at Bradford City's Valley Parade stadium in 1985 where 56 people died.
This friend is called ****. He shared a prison cell with a man who confessed to **** that he was a St John's worker who accessed the improperly controlled security door leading under the stand, and performed arson. The individual had previous arson convictions and seemed to take pride in his activities. **** considered him as an open individual who seemed to be looking for a friend.
**** went to Yorkshire Police, local television and local (and possibly a national, I forget) newspapers with this information. None were interested and no replies ever occurred. **** considers that some kind of 'gag' may have been ordered.
**** came to me twice to discuss this terrible thing, both times his information was the same without referring to a physical script, I believe him. **** is a principled man, although he plays the rogue.
I have done a brief 10-minute internet search and discovered that there was a book written by Mr Fletcher (sorry forgot his full name and the book title) who was a sole family survivor of the stadium fire. The book describes how the stadium owner, a Mr Heginbotham (deceased 1991) needed £2million pounds to upgrade the stadium from the wooden stands, but Heginbotham was in financial difficulties. The book further describes how Heginbotham was possibly tied to 8 insurance-related fires.
The judge who conducted the investigation described any arson conjecture as 'nonsense', far too dismissively. The press did as they usually do, of course.
**** is disinclined to consider my thoughts on Mr Heginbotham, but he is eager to 'get this out to people' regarding his discussions with the arsonist, his letters to the police and the various press agencies that were ignored.