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Uni: The Fire-Bombing of Dingles and a Dinner Party, Plymouth - 19th December 1988

Whilst watching the TV, there's a newsflash that the Dingles department store, in the heart of Plymouth, is on fire - a fact verified by peering out of the bedroom window in Stonehouse and seeing the flames a couple of miles away. This requires an impromptu trip on the bike with the camera to take a closer look and once there, in the days before the Nanny State, there's not much of a cordon so it's easy to get close enough to feel the heat from the flames and to hear several explosions from within the building. The fire-bombing was eventually claimed by animal rights activists, who had set some small incendiary devices in the fur coat section. They had apparently intended just to damage some stock, but hadn't factored in the lack of sprinklers in that part of the store, leading to a fire which just kept going until it had destroyed the top two floors of the building (see here for an interview with Devon's Chief Fire Officer). A few days later, on the night of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, we have a small dinner party in the flat.

next album: Harbertonford and Buckfast, pre-Christmas, Devon - 24th December 1988
previous album: Uni: Kate, A Lampshade and Duloe, Plymouth and Cornwall - 2nd December 1988

Ladder-mounted hoses douse the flames

Hot blue flames burst out of the top floor of Dingles

A fireball

There's quite a crowd watching the smoke billow out of Dingles

The smouldering roof of Dingles

The burning of Dingles. Note the dude standing on the roof of the opposite building

The next morning, the devastation is clear

Crowds mill around and discuss the damage. The papers headlined with 'Dingles Bombed'

John, Chris and Riki

Angela, Andy, John, Chris and Riki

John, Chris and Riki

John's on the phone

Angela tweaks the ghetto blaster

Angela, Nosher and Andy

Riki gets animated

Chris and Riki

John relaxes in the lounge of Angela and Kate's flat

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Ladder-mounted hoses douse the flames