National fire service day 14 th april
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National fire service day 14 th april
NATIONAL FIRE SERVICE
DAY - 14TH APRIL
Our Nation observes 14th April as the “Fire Service Day”.
This day is also observed as “MARTYRS DAY” to pay homage to
those brave fire fighters who sacrificed their lives in the massive fire
and explosion at Bombay dockyard on 14th April 1944.
14th April - FIRE
14th APRIL 1944
DATE : 14TH APRIL 1944
LOCATION : VICTORIA DOCK
SHIP : S S FORT STIKINE
CAPACITY : 7000 TONS
CARGO : AMMUNITION
BELONGED : BRITISH MINISTRY OF
WAR AND TRANSPORT
Ship left Birkinhead-UK : 24th Feb’1944
Convey of 20 other ships with cargo for
Karachi and Bombay.
Karachi cargo – RAF Planes, general stores,
Explosives and ammunitions.
Bombay Cargo – 1395 tons of explosives and
ammunitions and service stores.
Reached Karachi - 30th March, where a part
of cargo was discharged, leaving void of
2,86,000 cu.ft in her hold.
New Cargo – Cotton, Timber, Lubricating
oil, Resin, Sulphur and other combustible.
LEFT KARACHI : 9th APRIL
Reached BOMBAY : 12th APRIL.
No explosives or ammunition were off
loaded until the Ship had been
alongside for 24 hrs.
BY LAWS OF B.P.T
A ship carrying explosives is not allowed
into the Docks, but under rule 88 of the
Defence of India Rules this by-law is
suspended in cases where Military Officer
has given a certificate of “Grave
Such a certificate WAS GIVEN in case of Fort
The Memorable Day
Throughout the morning she was active as
cargo hooks swayed a load of commodities
from the “Fort Stikine”
Firemen at the fire stations as usual were
shining their brass to keep their Fire Engines
2:00 pm – a wisp of smoke noticed from the
No 2 hold of the ship.
Frantic series of short blast of whistles
warning of Fire aboard.
The ship crew started pouring musky water
in the ship hold.
Fire engines from Alexander Dock and AF
squad promptly arrived, and started hose
streams in the smoking hold.
The Firemen though aware of the dangerous
situation , there was no panic.
The prompt arrival of the Fire Engines then
seemed no reason to think that the fire could
not be controlled.
Soon it became apparent that the firemen
were “losing ground”.
A call was put through to the Fire Brigade
control for additional appliances
2:30 pm – large part of Fire Services were
Total 32 jets in action, pouring gallons of
water into the ship hold.
The fire still gained.
There was something preventing the water
from reaching the seat of fire.
The Deck Head under the Firemen’s feet
The water stream played over the deck head
turned to Steam.
It was now clear that the fire was out of
Sides and Deck became Cherry Red,
blenching thick black and brown smoke.
Flames shot mast high.
Orders to abandon ship.
But sound never reached Firemen's ear.
4:05- Ground rumbled and EXPLOSION, Fort
Stikine blew up.
With it went Gallant Firemen and Fire engine
disappeared from the face of Earth.
No. of ships destroyed, which were moored
At one stroke the key port of Bombay was taken
out of war.
4:36 – SECOND EXPLOSION-product of
No.4&5 hold cast upwards to height of 3000 ft.
Result : ??????
RESULT OF EXPLOSION
ENTIRE DOCK UPTO FEW KMS. WERE IN
FRACTURE OF THE 24” WATER MAIN BY A
METAL PIECE AT LEAST 20 FEET LONG,
COMPLETELY BLOCKING FRERE ROAD BY
FIRE DEBRIS, AND DISLODGED TRAM WIRES
DESTRUCTION OF 14 OTHER SHIPS.
336 PERSONS BURNED
66 FIREMEN DEAD
ALL AROUND PEOPLE AND ANIMAL LYING
MANY FIREFIGHTERS DISABLED
View of Harbour after first
Workers fleeing the scene after the
The number of persons who died in the
explosion will never be known and figures
NFPA Hand book- Listed 731 dead.
Other Sources- 1500 dead/missing, over
Couple of months after disaster 3083 people
had requested claims for damage by fire or
blasts and to the property.
11,735 had put up claim for uninsured
466 uninsured people had claimed as
compensation for personal injuries.
Govt. paid out 850 lakhs as damage by fire
Marine insurance- Rs.150 lakhs.
Paid for uninsured properties – 300 lakhs.
Personal injuries – 13 lakhs.
Miscellaneous policy – 4.5 lakhs
Words of Lt.Edward F.Oliver, US Coast
Guard, US Naval Institute
“Few have ever heard of the greatest dynamite gun
powder explosion of World War II – a blow to the
allied war machine beyond the wildest dreams of a
potential saboteur. The explosion nearly wiped out
“Gateway of India” and destroyed or damaged
nearly 1,00,000 tons of allied shipping. The cost of
the disaster has been put at more than a billion
dollars. In terms of human lives, the figure is more
difficult to arrive at. Official figures listed only those
who passed through the hospitals and aid station. It
was estimated that there were 1500 dead and
missing and injured. How many simply disappeared
will never be known”
Bombay Auxiliary Fire Services 42 85
Bombay Fire Brigade 24
Bombay Salvage Corps 12 02
Bombay Port Trust Employees 84 Not Known
City Police 14 55
Ship Crews 41 123
Army 15 30
Air Force - 15
Navy 07 160
Crew of Country Craft 04 10
Warehouse with Railroad Cars.
1944 Bombay harbour explosion
Mumbai Fire fighters Memorial
In 1968, late though the Govt. of
April 14th as
FIRE SERVICE DAY
in recognition of the valor &
sacrifice of the firemen who lost
their lives in the explosion and
those who laid down their lives
“IN LINE OF DUTY”
Let us all Indians pay homage to all those
brave firefighters by observing
02 min silence
Nalin Chaudhary (9978411037)