This film is part of Free
Hull Shopping Centre Ravaged by Fire
Firefighters avert a city-centre catastrophe in Yorkshire, but there's no ignoring the fearsome power of this inferno.
This news crew was quick on the scene - but Hull's heroic firefighters weren't to be pipped to the post. They clearly have a dangerous situation under control, although the film's lingering shots of the burning building contribute a suitable sense of drama. Melted girders, smouldering debris, and a ruined shop sign testify to the extent of the damage - worth over £5 million in today's money.
British Screen Productions had a wide portfolio, enjoying some limited success with light travelogues and silent comedies. But these sombre scenes offer something very different, reminding us of the heroism of emergency response personnel. Remarkably, at the time this blaze occurred, fire services were a matter of local responsibility, and may have comprised volunteers. It was only in the lead-up to the Second World War that the Government rolled out a national policy.