The Glasgow Fire Service was initially alerted by a 999 call at 7.15pm from the foreman of the Eldorado Ice Cream Company which was near the whisky bond. In response two pumps from West Station, with Sub Officer James Calder in charge were sent, along with a turntable ladder from Central Station. Also responding initially was the Fire Boat 'St Mungo' and a salvage tender and crew of the Glasgow Salvage Corps.
With the roads around the Broomielaw a warren of narrow streets and towering 19th-Century warehouses, it was difficult for the crews to remain at a safe distance from the blaze.
The warehouse contained more than a million gallons of whisky and rum. This burned out of control for several hours, as off-duty firefighters from Glasgow and surrounding brigades were called in to assist.
Tragically, when the spirit casks began to rupture, a massive explosion blew out the front and rear walls, killing 19 Fire Service and Salvage Corps men.
To this day, the tragic incident, Britain's worst peacetime fire services disaster, remains etched in Glasgow's collective memory.