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King's Cross fire and Grenfell tragedy 'game changers', says fire brigade

The Grenfell Tower fire will increase safety standards as much as the King's Cross station fire which happened 30 years ago on Saturday, London Fire Brigade says.

London Fire Brigade at King's Cross in 1987

Thirty-one people died when an escalator fire, thought to have been caused by a dropped match, ripped through part of the London Underground station on November 18 1987.

The devastation and a subsequent public inquiry led to stricter fire safety regulations.

Fire-damaged escalators at King's Cross underground station in 1987

Speaking ahead of the 30th anniversary of the fire, LFB's director of operations Tom George said:

The King's Cross fire was a game changer for London Fire Brigade and the UK fire service just as the Grenfell tragedy will be 30 years later.

Significant changes across the sector were made following the fire and I'm sure the same will happen once the investigations have taken place post-Grenfell. Following the King's Cross inquiry, firefighters' uniforms, Underground fire safety procedures and joint working between blue light partners were all improved, and have helped save public and firefighters' lives in the aftermath of the tragedy.

– Tom George, London Fire Brigade
Fire-damaged escalators at King's Cross underground station in 1987 Credit: PA

Police believe 71 people were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London five months ago.

Smoking was immediately banned on all parts of the Tube after the King's Cross disaster and wooden escalators were replaced.

The King's Cross fire stands alongside the appalling disaster at Grenfell Tower as a reminder to everyone that safety and regulation must remain our watchwords regardless of what the bottom line says on a set of accounts.

– Mick Cash, RMT union