The Chief Minister apologised quite rightly for the 1973 Summerland fire and the tragic events arising from it.
The choice of lethal materials such as Oroglas and the breaches of fire regulations were the responsibility of the Manx nation and cost 50 people their lives.
My connection with the complex is peripheral as I was not there or even on the island as I was off island with a group of Manx schoolchildren on that night.
I had worked from April to July 1972 in the complex when it first opened.
I was to work as cellarman at the Cave disco.
I had little experience of bar work and so I went to see official who was in charge of the whole complex.
Two things I remember being told.
One was the fire doors were to be locked except when I went out to the rubbish bins to put empty tins and glass bottles in.
I was to keep them locked when I was outside and relock them on returning.
he man said to me ‘We don’t want you letting your mates in, do we?’
The disco was vastly over capacity every night and the same man from the parent company said to us: ‘More the merrier, I say.’
Yet I never heard blame being apportioned the company, although I could be wrong.
In Stan Basnett’s book on the Manx fire brigade ‘Mann ablaze’ The inquest found 18 people died directly as a result of the fire doors being locked.
Does this company whom I will not name, not owe the victims and their families an apology?
Name and address supplied
This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of August 1.
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