Film ID:
YFA 4541

MAJOR INCIDENT - HOLBECK EXPLOSION

1975

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film documents an emergency service training scenario involving an explosion at a derelict factory in Holbeck, Leeds. The filmmaker chronicles the event as emergency crews arrive on the scene and help the injured, who are played by local volunteers.

The film opens with shots of smoke coming from a factory building, before the filmmaker captures a wide view of the factory itself. Inside the factory, actors pretend to lie injured amongst the debris. More shots capture smoke coming out of the building and some injured people in the courtyard.

Returning inside, a man is trapped beneath a large piece of rubble and further shots show some of the actors moving in their position; one man makes a smile as he pretends to lie unconscious. A brief shot shows some of the blown out windows, and expansive view of the road that runs beside the factory shows a police car pulling into the site. Two officers then stand before the camera and an officer relays some information into a portable radio.

From a high vantage point above the road, the filmmaker captures a fire truck and more officers arriving on the scene. The next shot shows an officer talking to a fireman by a squad car, which is parked on the hard shoulder, and following this more views show officers and fire crews standing on the side of the road. From the elevated position, policemen wearing reflective jackets can be seen stopping traffic, and some of the drivers get out too see what is going on. Through the haze, firemen can just be made out moving down the path that leads to the factory, and more shots show cars being directed on from the high vantage point. An ambulance rushes past the camera, before the filmmaker captures a shot of an injured man wearing a brown jacket, who is helped away from scene.

The next sequence shows firemen - wearing ventilators - helping injured parties away through the smoke. Returning to the road, more emergency service vehicles (police vans, ambulances and fire trucks) arrive on the scene and officers move around a squad car below. Two firemen with radios then walk past the camera and walk over a mound of earth. A fireman is then shown crouched beside an injured man on a dark, canvas sheet, and the filmmaker gets a close up of the medical equipment. The next few shots show the vehicles parked around the scene, including a shot that shows officers walking towards a police van and trailer, and a shot from above, which shows officers taking stretchers and other equipment from the trailer. A huddle of emergency servicemen then huddle on the road by the site entrance, while an officer wearing a reflective jacket continues to wave traffic past.

An officer unfolds a stretcher and the filmmaker gets close ups of crates filled with supplies and other essentials by a police van. Several shots then show the exterior of the factory, before a fire crew rush across a road - heading towards the site. More shots from the elevated position show emergency servicemen rushing around. There is then a shot of rows of stretchers laid out across the site forecourt and more police vehicles entering the site. Smoke pours out from the factory windows and ambulances can be seen beside the factory. Two servicemen carry a red emergency kit past the camera. An injured man is then carried on a stretch past the camera by two officers, before more shots show some of the injured being carried out of harm's way.

Inside the factory firemen carry the injured towards the exit, and a fireman crouches on a beam above dealing with a dummy trapped on the roof. An officer then takes a man's pulse before carrying him out the factory with help from a man in an orange reflective jacket. The next shot captures a group of firemen hoisting an injured individual out of the factory on a stretcher, and the next shot captures two of the injured still lying on the factory floor. Some of the more mobile injured are helped across the sit by officers. Panning across the factory forecourt, a shot shows a mass group of injured people lying on the ground covered in blankets, as serviceman move around them. An officer then crouches amongst the injured looking tired. From above police vehicles are then shown parked in a row along the grounds.

A man is stretched from the factory assisted by two officers and a policeman. A group of officers then huddle round an injured man trying to move his legs. Cones have now been placed on the street around the site, and an officer, in a green visibility jacket, waves some vehicles through. Several officers then attach a large pole (presumably a communications antenna) onto a mobile trailer unit parked on site; once attached, they hoist the antenna into the air. Officers then stand round in a group receiving instructions from a senior officer with a clipboard.

A shot shows the area where the ambulances are parked and frantic activity as more of the injured personnel are carried away from the factory. Some of the mock dead are then shown with blankets put over their heads, and a doctor takes notes as he surveys the injured. The dummies are then placed in a shed and close ups show that the rescue workers have attached tags too them, with officers above taking down notes. The final shot in this sequence shows a police motorcycle ride walking away from the trailer unit and walking past the camera wearing leathers and a helmet.

In the police station, two female officers sit behind a desk while two other female officers look at a whiteboard on the wall, before the camera pans across the room to show other female officers answering phones, and some of the women smoke cigarettes. There is then a close up of the whiteboard, which has a heading that reads 'casualty chart', and a sub-heading that states 'Identified'. Names can be faintly made out as a female officer adds more details to the chart using a marker. More shots capture the female officers on the telephones, taking notes, before the filmmaker gets a close up of a casualty record card. Some senior female officers then talk in the room while the work continues on around them.

The final sequence returns to the factory site, where an elevated shots capture the scene; stretchers are laid out on the forecourt with a fire truck parked beside them, and the factory building can be seen in the background. Firemen then exit a smaller stone building and one of the firemen peaks his head over a fence, before the filmmaker zooms out to show an expansive view of the site.