A FIREFIGHTER has recalled how he feared for his life during the King’s Cross Underground station blaze 30 years ago.

Dave Flanagan was caught up in the deadly fire when it swept through a ticket hall at the station.

The 56-year-old from Rayleigh was among the first firefighters to arrive at the scene and said he remembers the incident on November 18, 1987 “as if it was yesterday”.

Mr Flanagan said: “I started seeing people coming up the escalator with their hands and scarves over their faces. That was the first sign we’d seen of a fire.

“As I turned around, suddenly the fire flashed over. At that point we beat a hasty retreat back out the way we’d come.”

He said the crew were “fearing for their lives at that stage to tell you the truth”.

After escaping the area, Mr Flanagan and his colleagues spent between ten and 15 minutes struggling to get back down into the station.

“It was extreme heat,” he said. “It was only a short flight of stairs, going down about 12 to 15 feet, but it was an intense heat.

“I had a firefighter with me who’d only been at the station six or seven months. He talked about it afterwards and he said he wouldn’t have gone back down there because he was frightened.

“The only reason he came back down there was because he thought that I knew what I was doing. We talked about that even at his retirement two years ago.”

Mr Flanagan said a lot of the 31 victims died in the ticket hall.

He recalled: “Everywhere was black and charred. All the paint had been burned off the metal ticket machines. They were black.

“That was where a lot of the casualties were. They were caught in the flash over. It was such a horrible situation.”

He recalled how the exits from the station “were like chimneys with smoke coming out. It was quite unbelievable really.

“At that point the crews arriving knew they were in a serious situation with a serious fire going on.”

The married father-of-two spent “some time after thinking, could we have done more?”

He said: “You really do question everything. To be honest I think everyone who was there worked extremely hard and did as much as they could to resolve the situation.”

Mr Flanagan, who continues to work for London Fire Brigade in a civilian role, described King’s Cross as “the worst fire because of the loss of life” during his 32 years of service.