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Honour for Shoreditch firefighter who died in 1969 tragedy

PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 October 2016

John Carpenter, left, and staff officer Karen Bell, right, with the brother (Maurice) and sister (Maureen) of Michael Lee at the plaque unveiling. Picture: Paul Wood

John Carpenter, left, and staff officer Karen Bell, right, with the brother (Maurice) and sister (Maureen) of Michael Lee at the plaque unveiling. Picture: Paul Wood

Photo copyright Paul Wood

A hero firefighter who died on a job 47 years ago has been honoured with a plaque at Shoreditch Fire Station.

Fire crews at the scene in Goswell Road on September 29th 1969 use their bare hands to try and rescue the trapped firemen. Picture: Paul WoodFire crews at the scene in Goswell Road on September 29th 1969 use their bare hands to try and rescue the trapped firemen. Picture: Paul Wood

Michael Lee, crew manager at Shoreditch at just 21, was sent to work a night shift at Barbican on September 29, 1969.

He was called to a fire in a derelict war shelter at the former National Car Park site in Goswell Road, Finsbury. Children were said to be inside, and Michael led the way, shouting: “Come on lads, there are kids inside.”

However, the roof of the shelter collapsed and Michael died instantly.

On Saturday, his sister Maureen and brother Maurice were invited to the plaque unveiling in his memory.

Steve Dudeney, borough commander for Hackney, said: “They were blown away with the reception, being able to see where Mick worked and meet up with old colleagues.

“Michael’s brother Maurice told me afterwards that his whole family felt as if they were part of the fire brigade family, and felt enormously proud of their family’s association with the brigade.”

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