Date: May 11, 1985
Casualties: 56 People
Valley Parade is a football stadium located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It was built in 1886 and has been the home field for Bradford City A.F.C. since 1903. In 1908, Bradford City was promoted to the top football division. They won the FA Cup in 1911, which is Bradford’s only major honor to date. On May 11, 1985, a crowd of 11,076 fans attended Bradford City’s final Division Three game of the season, against Lincoln City. The score was tied 0–0 after 40 minutes of play, when a small fire was noticed three rows back from the ground’s main stand. Within minutes, the fire quickly spread across the entire length of the stadium. Valley Parade’s roof began to crumble, with timber and asphalt falling on the crowd. It took less than four minutes for the entire stand to be engulfed in flames.
Black smoke enveloped the rear passageways, where fans were trying to escape. In some cases, the spectators attempted to flee down narrow routes that led to locked doors. The only escape for most people was directly onto the field. The fire killed 56 spectators and at least 265 others were injured. It is believed that the blaze started when a spectator dropped a match or lit cigarette through the holes of the stands igniting rubbish below. In 1985, the Valley Parade seats did not have risers, which allowed for a huge accumulation of garbage and paper under the stand. One eyewitness, Geoffrey Mitchell, told the BBC, “It spread like a flash. I’ve never seen anything like it.” The tragedy has been described as the worst fire disaster in the history of British football. Valley Parade has undergone significant construction changes since the disaster