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'It was like walking into hell': King's Cross fire survivor relives tragedy 30 years on

The fire-damaged escalators at King's Cross underground station in London, 1987. Credit: PA

A memorial service will take place today to mark the 30th anniversary of the King's Cross fire which killed 31 people.

One hundred people were also injured when a wooden escalator fire ripped through part of the underground station in November 1987.

PC Stephen Hanson from Milton Keynes suffered severe burns when he helped passengers escape.

He says it remains the most horrific experience of his life and that he was lucky to get out alive.

It was absolutely horrendous. It is the worst thing I have ever been through in my life.

I have been in the army and been in bad situations but this was totally different. All I can describe was hell. It was like walking into hell and walking back out.

I nearly lost my life, and it was a miracle that I got out of that place. I still to this day don't know how I got out.

If I swallowed more smoke that's what would have killed me, not the burns.

– PC Stephen Hanson, Survivor
Survivor Stephen Hanson still relives the ordeal

Many of the victims died when the blaze swept through the ticket hall and it took six hours before the fire was put out.

Although small to begin with, it was described by one firefighter as "about the size of a large cardboard box".

The flames heated the framework and decking of the Piccadilly line escalator, pre-heating the rest of the wooden staircase before bursting into flames.

Following the devastating fire and public inquiry, stricter fire safety regulations were implemented. Credit: PA

Victims' families, survivors and emergency services personnel who responded to the blaze on 18 November 1987 will gather at the north London Tube station at 11am.

Following the fire and public inquiry, stricter fire safety regulations were implemented.

After it was thought a smoker's dropped match started the fire, smoking was then banned across the Tube network.

Wooden escalators were also phased out on the London underground.

Firefighters battled the blaze that killed 31 and injured 60 others in 1987. Credit: PA