Stockline Plastics factory explosion

From Academic Kids

An aerial view of the remains of the four-storey factory the day after the explosion
An aerial view of the remains of the four-storey factory the day after the explosion

On May 11 2004 the Stockline Plastics factory, in the Woodlands district of Glasgow in western Scotland, exploded, killing nine people, including two company directors, and injuring 37, of whom around 15 were seriously wounded. The four-storey building was largely destroyed.

The explosion occurred at around midday BST (11:00 UTC). Approximately 60 people worked in the factory, and around a dozen were trapped in the rubble. Fire crews used specialist search-and-rescue equipment, including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors (which detect the respired carbon dioxide of trapped persons), thermal-imaging equipment, and fibre-optic cameras to search for people trapped in the collapsed building. Some trapped workers were able to make themselves heard by shouting, or by using their mobile phones. Fire crews pulled seven people alive from the rubble on May 11. The search through the factory's ruins continued for the following three days.

Up to 200 firefighters were present at the scene and were supported by paramedics and the crew of a Sea King rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield, North Yorkshire and a sniffer dog team from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. The volunteer group International Rescue Corps, who specialise in travelling to the site of earthquakes and helping locate survivors, sent eleven of its Scottish members to the scene.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, although some press coverage has reported eyewitness accounts of gas industrial ovens in the coating department exploding although these have been shown to be unlikely as the gas ovens used on site have been found intact. Other theories include a dust explosion and a build-up of methane beneath the building

The Stockline Plastics Ltd factory was located near Glasgow's west end, in Grovepark Mills, Hopehill Road. The injured were taken for treatment to five hospitals in Glasgow; the most patients were taken to Stobhill Hospital, Western Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and the remaining were treated at Southern General and Victoria Infirmary. Seven people were declared dead at the scene, and two died in Western Infirmary. One firefighter was taken to hospital after being overcome by fumes, and several were stricken by heat exhaustion while labouring in the hot and humid conditions.

Strathclyde Police named the deceased as Annette Doyle (24), Peter Ferguson (52), Thomas McAulay (41), Tracy McErlane (27), Ann Trench (34), company directors Stewart McColl (60) and Margaret Brownlie (49), Kenneth Ronald Murray, (45), and Timothy Smith (31). With the recovery of Mr.Smith's body from the site on May 14th, Strathclyde Fire Brigade announced that they believed no hope of recovering live victims remained.

The Grovepark Fund, established to help the families of those killed and injured in the blast, received a boost when the departing Celtic F.C. star, Henrik Larsson, announced that the shirt he wore in his farewell match against Seville on Tuesday would be auctioned in aid of the appeal. It is expected to attract bids of up to 10,000.

A memorial service took place in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on July 4th 2004. Further memorial ceremonies are due to be held on May 11th 2005, one year on from the tragic event.

Although regularly referred to as the "Stockline Plastics factory", largely due to the signage around the building, the factory was owned by ICL Plastics and indeed a large majority of the work that took place there was for ICL Technical Plastics. The offices on the floors above were used by ICL Plastics, ICL Tech and Stockline Plastics.

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