Clarkston explosion

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Coordinates: 55°47′24″N 4°16′37″W / 55.790°N 4.277°W / 55.790; -4.277 The Clarkston explosion was a disaster that occurred on 21 October 1971 at a shopping centre in Clarkston, Renfrewshire, Scotland. The death toll has been stated variously as 21[1] and 22.[2]

The explosion followed a build-up of gas in an underground space beneath the Clarkston Toll shopping centre, caused by a gas main leak later ruled to have been accidental.[1] Customers and shop staff had on 20 October complained of a strong smell of gas in the centre and Scottish Gas engineers had attended to investigate, but had identified no source for the smell.[1][2] The engineers were still in attendance at around 2:50pm on the 21st when the gas ignited and exploded, killing at least 21 people and injuring around 100.[3] The victims included many female shop staff and housewives on shopping trips, and the passengers of a bus that had been passing the scene.[2] The explosion destroyed several shops and a terraced car park.

An inquiry was held, and a jury on 11 February 1972 returned a verdict that no fault for the explosion lay with any organization or individual. No cause was identified for the ignition of the leaked gas, and the leak itself was deemed the result of an accidental gas main fracture caused by "stress and corrosion".[3]

The victims of the disaster are commemorated in a plaque erected in 2001/2 near the site of the explosion.[2]

There is a further tribute to those who lost their lives situated in the entranceway to the Clarkston Halls.

Scottish Television produced a programme on the Clarkston Disaster which aired on the 20th Nov 2017[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Disaster jury says no one was to blame". Glasgow Herald. 11 February 1972. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The day 22 died as explosion blasted shopping centre". The Herald (Scotland). 19 October 2002. 
  3. ^ a b Murphy, James (11 February 1972). "Formal verdict returned on 21 Clarkston victims". Glasgow Herald. 
  4. ^ "STV People's History Show". 
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