The Morgan Academy fire in March 2001 is a night few in Dundee will ever forget.
Now, to mark Sunday’s 20-year anniversary of the school inferno, we are bringing you the story as you’ve never seen or read it before.
Our in-depth study features unheard testimonies from key firefighters and senior fire officers and control room staff disclose tactics used and challenges faced by crews at the impossible fight.
Former firefighter and amateur cameraman Ed Thomson was on the scene that fateful night. He has shared with us a series of previously unseen photos that reveal closer views of the Morgan Academy blaze than ever before.
In their own words, those involved in the incident describe scenes which shocked even the most experienced members of the fire service.
We hear from the firefighters who rushed into the building in a desperate attempt to save it from destruction, and from the aerial platform operators who watched from above as the Gothic masterpiece was engulfed by flames.
We remember the gasps of shock as the Victorian school’s iconic clock tower collapsed and hear from the control room operator who took the first call, the first crew on the scene, the senior officers in charge, many firefighters and the fire safety officer who investigated the blaze.
Teachers who witnessed the shocking incident also share their story, as does the then rector of Morgan Academy.
Morgan Academy fire: A moment in history
Two decades on, the blaze is still one of the city’s biggest and most significant fires – a prominent moment in Dundee’s history.
Crowds of people watched in heartache as the sky glowed orange and flames devoured the building at incredible speed, leaving nothing but smouldering ashes in its wake.
The fire was found to be caused by workmen applying felting to the roof using blowtorches and prompted a £20 million rebuild of the historic building.
Evening Telegraph editor Dave Lord is sure the series and accompanying documentary will be of great interest to locals.
“Few people who were in Dundee 20 years ago – or even those who have any association to the city – will forget the Morgan fire blaze,” he said.
“The Morgan has long been one of Dundee’s most iconic buildings and its destruction on that fateful night captured the imagination of everybody.“Huge crowds gathered to watch in helpless horror as the fire spread and it is fascinating to hear from those most intimately involved in tackling the blaze.
“The rebuilding of the Morgan was, of course, a real success story.
“The 20th anniversary is a good time to reflect on what represents a massive piece of local history. Unseen pictures and previously unheard testimony will add a hitherto unknown layer of understanding.”
Morgan Academy fire: 20 years on — see our special in-depth feature, video documentary and more never-seen-before photos on this website from Friday
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