Memorial planned to those who died in Sheffield gas explosion

Proposals have been revealed to create a memorial to people who died in a gas explosion in Sheffield 45 years ago.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 08 August, 2018, 08:21
The aftermath.

Three people died and dozens were injured when there was an explosion in a disused petroleum tank in which gas was once stored below ground level at the East Midland Gas Board works in Effingham Road.

A damaged car at the site.

A report in The Star detailing the incident on October 25, 1973, included eyewitness accounts in which they described seeing ‘a huge flame like a volcano, it must have been a sheet 200ft high’.

The National Grid would now like to hear from relatives and former colleagues of those who lost their lives or were affected with a view to creating a permanent memorial at the site.

This comes as the organisation has recently started work to dismantle the last remaining gasholder in an area that has been associated with gas production and storage since the early 1800s.

Hannah White, project manager at the National Grid, said: "This year sees the 45th anniversary of the explosion.

Damaged vehicles and debris.

"It's fitting that as we mark the end of the gasholders in the area that we commemorate the people who lost their lives and who were injured at the gasworks.

"We'd like to hear from relatives or former colleagues of Patrick Sleight, Cyril Kennedy and William Donaldson and anyone else affected by the explosion to explore ways in which we might do that.

"Relatives and former workers can contact us via our community relations freephone or email address."

An aerial view of the devastation.

In addition to the deaths and injuries caused, several cars were badly crushed and more than 50 showered with debris.

Reports from the time told how the tragedy happened while the tank was being converted to hold diesel oil and contractors had been removing water from it.

During the work, the contractors had not realised the tank still contained some highly flammable liquid.

Unfortunately, workmen had used a flame cutter on the tank.

The damage is inspected.

An inquest was opened and verdicts of accidental death were reached.

National Grid’s community relations team can be contacted on freephone 0800 8199 071 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email contact@communityrelations.uk.com