Memorial service for Clarkston Disaster victims on 50th anniversary

Victims remembered on 50th anniversary of gas explosion which ripped through a row of shops.

Memorial service for Clarkston Disaster victims on 50th anniversary STV News

A memorial service has been held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Clarkston Disaster – a gas explosion which killed 22 people.

A row of shops was destroyed and vehicles plunged into the debris from a rooftop car park after the blast on October 21, 1971.

The victims – 20 women and two men – were remembered during a service and minute’s silence in the East Renfrewshire town on Thursday.

More than 100 people turned up to pay their respects outside Clarkston Halls and library for the memorial at 2.50pm.

A row of shops were destroyed in the gas explosion.STV News

What happened in Clarkston?

Shopworkers had reported a smell of gas in the six-year-old shopping centre on Busby Road, but engineers were unable to find out where it was coming from.

Unbeknown to them, gas was actually leaking through a crack in a pipe three feet below the road surface into empty, unventilated cellars beneath the shops.

STV News

Engineers were still on the scene when the gas was ignited by a spark, causing an explosion so fierce that it killed two people who had just got off a bus – and injured passengers still in their seats.

A fatal accident inquiry reached its conclusions within just four months of the explosion, a jury deciding that no one was to blame.