A plaque has been unveiled to remember the firefighter who lost his life fighting the 1974 Worsley Hotel fire in Paddington. Seven people died in the fire, including firefighter Hamish ‘Harry’ Pettit. He was just 25 years old at the time of his death. Prior to his death Pettit and his colleagues had rescued or assisted to safety twenty hotel residents.

The plaque is part of the Fire Brigades Union’s Red Plaque series, which commemorates firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. The plaques are placed as close as possible to where the incident took place, and this plaque is placed at Clifton Gardens, where the incident happened.

This plaque was unveiled by family members Steven Pettit and Pat Whiting.

Tam McFarlane, a national officer at the Fire Brigades Union, said:

“Firefighters who die in the line of duty give a huge sacrifice for the lives of others. We consider it part of our duty to honour them. The Red Plaque scheme was set up in the union’s centenary year to help do this, and we are pleased to see it growing. It will continue to commemorate brave firefighters like Hamish.”

Pettit was killed when part of the roof of the hotel suddenly collapsed into the sixth floor of the building. This brought down parts of each floor into the second floor, where Pettit was.

The fire was a significant one, with 40 fire engines ultimately attending the scene, and had been started deliberately. On arrival at the scene firefighters had found over 30 people trapped by smoke and screaming for rescue from windows of the six floor building.

The Red Plaque scheme is funded by the FBU’s Firefighters100 lottery, which is a weekly online lottery created to support firefighters, their families, and to honour the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters killed in the line of duty. Further details of it can be accessed here: https://www.firefighters100lottery.co.uk.