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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
'They were screaming for help'
Picture by Glasgow University Guardian
Dozens were injured in the blast
Staff caught up in a massive explosion at a Glasgow plastics factory have described the chaos as the building collapsed.

The explosion demolished much of the Stockline Plastics building in Grovepark Street, west of the city centre.

About 100 people were thought to have been working in the factory and survivors described how they crawled out from the debris after the blast.

Workers caught in the blast described how they were "blinded by smoke and dust".

Derek King, who was in the workshop when the blast happened, said: "There was a massive bang and everything came down on top of me. I thought, 'My God the girders are coming down as well'."

Mr King's legs were trapped and he had no feeling in his left leg.

I heard an enormous bang. The lights went out and there was dust everywhere. I then heard screaming as it is mostly girls and women who work in that part of the office
Factory worker
His mother Margaret Simpson,45, from Cumbernauld, said he was worried about the state of a glass roof above him but was lifted to safety by rescue workers.

Mr King's mother said he suffered cuts to his head but "thankfully no broken bones".

"Thank God, he's fine," she said.

Daniel Gilmour told how he and three other colleagues managed to crawl out of a hole in the side of the building after scrambling over rubble.

He said most of those trapped underneath the wreckage of the plant were working in offices four storeys above.

Two men who were on the ground floor of the building and were treated for minor injuries at Stobhill Hospital told News Online how they managed to escape.

One of the men, aged 20, said: "I heard an enormous bang. The lights went out and there was dust everywhere. I then heard screaming as it is mostly girls and women who work in that part of the office.

Sounded like a bomb

"I was then able to walk through a hole that was bigger than me.

A 44-year-old man who worked in a room on his own on the ground floor said: "I don't really know what to tell you because we still don't know what happened.

"There was an explosion and then nothing. My door was still able to open and I managed to get out.

"I then managed to get back and bring out my three colleagues."

Gerry McGuinness, 44, a technician at the nearby Dentec dental laboratory, said the explosion sounded like a bomb going off.

"It nearly shook me off my seat, the blast was so strong," he said.

"We ran up and started taking some of the bricks away. There were four guys and one girl trapped under the rubble.

Pictures from Glasgow University Guardian
Rescue services quickly arrived on the scene

"We couldn't see them but they were screaming at us for us to help them.

"We were trying to move the bricks when a man came and told us to stop because it may be unsafe, then the police arrived."

David Andrews, 50, was working inside the factory when the blast took place.

He managed to escape uninjured, but said he feared for the lives of his colleagues still trapped inside.

Mr Andrews said: "I was working in the other side of the building. It was mostly office workers in the bit that came down. I was working when I heard an almighty bang and I ran out. I couldn't see anything for dust.

'Absolutely colossal'

"I was trying to help pull people from the rubble. All my colleagues were lying on the ground with cuts and bruises to their heads and broken arms. The whole lot just came down on top of them."

Mr Andrews said he believed the explosion might have been connected with gas ovens in the coating department of the factory.

Mary Morrow, who works in La France hairdressers on Maryhill Road just opposite the site of the blast, said: "We just heard an explosion, it was absolutely colossal.

"It shook the windows of the shop. We ran out to see what had happened but all we could see was a massive cloud of smoke and dust.

"Within about five minutes the police and ambulances started to arrive. They were everywhere."




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