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FLYING SAUCER
03-01-2010, 21:46
Does anyone remember the terrible fire at Summerland on The Isle of Man in 1973?

We went to the TT races there in 76 and my Dad pointed it out, it was rebuilt quite insensitive really considering 51 were killed there - there is a short clip on youtube,.

Richard1978
03-01-2010, 23:40
I'm too young to remember it, but my Dad remembers it brought up a lot of issues on safety of buildings open to the public.

cath270263
27-01-2010, 00:22
Yes I remember the fire I was 10 years of age and on holiday with my family. We actually visited the Summerland on the day of the fire, I can remember the night of the fire, we were staying in a hotel on the opposite end of the prom, I was there with my cousin and our Mum's and Dad's had gone out for the evening. We left the hotel on our own to see what was happening, I remember people being helped out covered in dust and seeing an old man from our hotel also covered in dust from the fire. It was very chaotic peope rushing around everywhere, and the days after the fire were really sad every were you went people were in shock. Its funny I should of found this thread as I was talking to a work mate about today and looked on the internet to see what year the tragedy happened.

manxmaid
10-12-2011, 09:02
I too was talking about this at work the other day, I remember the night of the fire really well, I was born and brought up on the IOM and on the day of the fire, I had gone to Douglas with some family friends, their daughter was similar age to me, and we spent the day in the shops, arcades and then went for some tea. On the way home along the prom, my friends parents were toying with the idea of going into Summerland as none of us had been in there before, and the only thing that stopped us going in was that they had to collect their younger daughter from a birthday party in Baldrine. When we got back to their house (they lived on a farm up Ballaragh (sorry about the spelling) the phone rang, (not many people had phones back then), the father answered the phone and I remember him saying when the call was ended that Summerland was on fire, at that stage no-one knew the full extent, but even at my age of 11 I was in shock, the IOM had never seen anything like it. The next day my parents drove upto the area where the Grotto is in Onchan and you could look down on the shell that was less then 24 hours earlier a thriving holiday complex. It was a shell, there were loads of other people there too, everyone was in shock. It is very rarely mentioned on the island these days, but no-one has forgotten it.

I dread to think what would have happened if we didn't have to collect the youngster from the party. The family I have talked about here emigrated to Canada a year or two after the fire, I would really love to hear from them, if any of them stumble across this they will know who I am. Both daughters should be around the 50 or just approaching the 50 milestone, I heard years after the mother had passed away, but if the father is still alive I imagine him to be in his 80's.

FLYING SAUCER
11-12-2011, 00:11
From what I can gather, there only remains a small commemorative stone near where this terrible incident happened, and, like yourself, there must still be many folk out there with their own story to tell?

And I remember we sailed out to the IOM after this happened in jJune 1976 in a lovely old ship called Manx Maid.

sf1378
11-12-2011, 00:17
Read about it on the net after this was intitally posted. Terrible tragedy.

manxmaid
11-12-2011, 10:36
Slightly off thread:

The old Manxmaid, yes I remember her well, thats where I got my user name...

sadly she is at rest at that old shipyard in the sky.

Fatdan
06-09-2012, 13:04
I was talking about early memories with my kids last night and told them that one of my earliest, and most vivid, recollections was of driving away from Summerland and hearing on the car radio that the place was up in flames. I was about four and a half at the time and I also remember being mesmerised by the place and not wanting to leave. I hadn't realised the extent of the tragedy until I Googled it this morning. What a terrible event.

Robert E Wilson
01-02-2013, 02:24
Slightly off thread:

The old Manxmaid, yes I remember her well, thats where I got my user name...

sadly she is at rest at that old shipyard in the sky.

I'm glad that a couple of other folk remember the Manx Maid. I recall her doing the Belfast to Douglas run in the seventies, along with other ships like the King Orry and Lady of Mann. Marvellous crafts, but they'd probably seem very antiquated now compared to today's sleek vessels!

Re. the Summerland Fire, I was caught up in the disaster and should be able to clarify some details for anyone interested. I must also pay tribute to the kindness of the Manx people to folk like me who were injured.

Robert E Wilson
01-02-2013, 02:30
Does anyone remember the terrible fire at Summerland on The Isle of Man in 1973?

We went to the TT races there in 76 and my Dad pointed it out, it was rebuilt quite insensitive really considering 51 were killed there - there is a short clip on youtube,.

I posted a couple of comments on Youtube after seeing the clip. I survived the Summerland Disaster with relatively minor burns, given that I was near the top of the building when it went up. I can confirm many details of the things that happened and am happy to share / compare my experiences with others.

Roxxy
17-04-2013, 18:08
God Robert, you poor thing. We were on the island at the time, down the road in Port Erin, and probably WOULD have visited Summerland a couple of days later. I was left with a terror of leisure centres and indoor swimming pools for years afterwards.
I have actually submitted a mainstream entry about Summerland on the DYR site, you'll find it under the 'Global Events' section- I know that many of the survivors were left with PTSD; it seems to be one of the British Isle's forgotten tragedies. You have my heartfelt respect, my friend- anyone who survived that holocaust does. Some of the details are too gruesome to bear repeating on DYR, but I know what they are....

escorteclipse1990
31-05-2013, 22:27
A friend of mine was on holiday in the IOM at the time, and was in Summerland on the afternoon of the fire. He remembers it being a nice place. He was not in the place when the fire started but remembers seeing a load of black smoke. He was 24 at the time

Pink lady
02-08-2013, 10:03
I was there , it was there Worse thing in my life time.. Our next-door neighbough was a fireman and he cried and had nightmares .He said they found this large lump of plastic and when they got it outside, it was a women covered in Oraglass... Rest in peace all ...

Tosh
02-08-2013, 15:55
I was there , it was there Worse thing in my life time.. Our next-door neighbough was a fireman and he cried and had nightmares .He said they found this large lump of plastic and when they got it outside, it was a women covered in Oraglass... Rest in peace all ...

I was too was there and it has always been a bad memory- Without being insensitive I photographed the whole disaster and should you young ones wish to see the way the flames spread so fast look at this link(there is nothing gruesome) - these pictures have been unseen publicly for 40 years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORFFWAUJ8Po

Powdered toast man
02-08-2013, 17:42
I was born in 1978 and I've never been to the IOM. I read about the Summerland fire in a book about fire safety a couple of years ago. That same night I had a horrid, vivid dream that I was there and molten plastic was pouring down the walls and onto people, chairs, and the floor and igniting everything it touched.

Manxwoman
11-08-2013, 19:14
Hi, the Summerland site is now for sale by the Isle of Man Government. I have an online petition demanding the Manx Government stop the sale and instead dedicate the site to the 50 who died in the fire (11 were aged under 19 years) and all those who died later from injuries sustained in the fire (their numbers are unknown); the 80 plus who were seriously injured; and all those who suffered mental trauma at the time and in the intervening 40 years. The petition link is here http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/summerland-for-commemorative-gardens.html. Please sign if you believe strongly as I do that all the people (and there were 3,000 inside on the night) have been ignored by the Manx Government. The inquiry report highlighted there were many mistakes made by many people, but a death by misadventure verdict was given and no-one was held accountable!! At that time the Isle of Man Government had in place defective legislation on fire safety; the Douglas Council of the time (the owners) put in place a waiver to their bye-laws which enabled them to build Summerland out of cheap but combustible materials; the architects were given free rein and built effectively a plastic hangar; and the operators Trust Houses Forte did not give their staff any fire safey training or procedures in the event of a fire. All this meant just one match lit by some lads mucking about outside ignited the building and within half an hour it was an inferno and people's lives were ripped apart forever. Please sign and share the petition so that our government does not sell the site which here on the Isle of Man is our Ground Zero. I also have a facebook page called Summerland Fire. Please check it out and leave your comments there too. Thank you.

eddie490_0
29-08-2014, 20:55
I remember the fire very well. I was 18 years of age and lived in douglas
Most nights I would go to summerland and the night of the fire was no exception. When the fire first started I was watching the band playing.
All the children sat at the front, the band would ask if anyone could name a song that they couldn't play.
a free bag of sweets if they did was the reward.
I heard shouting people where rushing for the exits I went to see what all the fuss was and noticed a fire had started in the arcade.
Behind me the main exit had been jammed with people fighting to get out. Not wanting to get crushed I stood back and decided to take a photo of the fire.
When i turned to leave the exits where total blocked there was no staff to be see. just mayhem everywhere cash registers where ripped out and throne through windows to escape. People jumping out of the windows.
the fire had reached the roof causing it to melt dripping burning . I new it was time to get out. I made for the main exit.it had slackened off I was able to walk out unhurt as I reached the sea front there was a loud explosion summerland was just a ball of fire.
I will leave at this and hope I havent upset anyone.
I only found out a couple of weeks ago it was 40 years since the fire after booking a weekend break in castletown where I served my apprenticeship.

The Wild One
25-04-2016, 01:19
It was the first time I have ever been to the Isle of Mann, me and my mate was only 22. Whe had met some girls from Manchester who said over the last couple of years they had been and it was a good night out. About 6:30PM we picked the girls up from their guesthouse and we proceeded on our way to the complex. On our way I decided we should call in a pub called the crescent at 7pm, because it sounded like a good group that was playing. We were having a good banter with the girls, from Manchester, over a couple of drinks. Then, as the time went by, at around 8pm, the group stopped playing and they said "Summerland is on fire, can anybody do anything to help the people?" So hearing this we all ran outside to see. There was flames coming out of every window. People were screaming and running towards us. We were trying to settle them down by giving them drinks and cigarettes then we all heared a very big explosion. Everything seemed so surreal. The next day, all of the telephone lines were jammed. There was obviously no mobiles in those days. I knew that our parents would be out of their minds with worry. After the Thursday night, the Saturday morning couldn't come quick enough. Me and my mate got the boat back to Liverpool. We called at my house first. My parents were so relieved to see us back. I am 65 years old now, however, I still shiver, to think what could have happened to us all if I hadn't decided for us to call in the crescent pub, just one hour before the fire. I have always thought it was a guardian angel looking after us.