Reporter ELAINE OKYERE takes a look at the history of the London Fire Brigade in Harrow and the part it has played in the borough's history.

It was one of the worst disasters in British railway history; it claimed 112 lives and spark an overhaul in the industry to prevent a similar catastrophe from ever happening again.

David Glennie was among the emergency workers called to the scene of the Wealdstone train crash in October 1952.

The accident happened when an express ran into the back of a train standing in the station and another express then ploughed into the wreckage.

Mr Glennie said: "It was horrible and a big mess.

"112 people died there. After that they changed the track plans."

The 77-year-old worked at Harrow and Stanmore fire station from 1956-1985, after joining the auxiliary fire service, a part of the civil defence force, in 1952.

Mr Glennie said: "It was good, I enjoyed it so much I packed my job in after four years and joined full-time.

"One of the best things about joining was meeting my wife, who worked in the offices at Pinner Road."

Mr Glennie, who now works as a volunteer at the LFB museum, looks back on his time in Harrow fondly.

He said: "When I was in the service it was a way of life.

"We were a family, you would do anything for anybody."

For firefighter Stan Topson, who has worked at Stanmore fire station for 28 years, the area holds a lot of memories.

He said: "Everything has changed - the unit and the equipment. In the past it was more regimental."

One of his more unusual calls involved rescuing a cat stuck in the wall between two buildings.

He said: "We had to work out where the cat was and knock a hole in the wall.

"The cat was saved, but the next day another crew had to go back as it had rained and the shop building was flooded."

Mr Topson also attended the Kings Cross fire in November 1987.

He said: "It wasn't a pleasant experience, 32 people lost their lives and that sticks in my mind.

"We get counselling now. When a member of the public died in a fire in Wealdstone years ago, I remember I got a call at home and a letter in the post to check I was all right."

The Kings Cross fire is thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette setting light to a flight of wooden stairs.

Harrow may only have three stations at the moment, but there was a time when the borough sent men out to fight fires across the whole of Middlesex.

The brigade lacked any organisation until after the 1666 Great Fire of London, when insurance companies established units to protect buildings they insured.

It wasn't until January 1833 that the London Fire Engine Establishment was formed, with 80 firefighters and 13 stations.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade replaced it in 1865 and after the Second World War the London Fire Brigade (LFB) was re-established - a part of which was the Middlesex Fire Brigade, serving the county, Harrow and Wembley.

After the formation of the Greater London Councils in 1966 the Middlesex branch became part of the London Fire Brigade.

Esther Mann, curator at the LFB Museum in Southwark, said: "The Middlesex fire brigade was based at Harrow Station.

"The service has changed a lot. In the 1930s they wore wool tunics, but uniforms are now fire retardant.

"After 9/11 things changed again, we have lots more equipment like radiation sensors now."

The first recorded fire station in the borough was in Harrow-on-the-Hill, in the High Street, built in 1818.

The station was situated where the estate agent Stephen J Woodward now stands. Harrow Fire Station, in Pinner Road, was built in 1937.

There was a Wealdstone Fire Station in Palmerston Road but it was closed in the 1960s.

Northolt Fire Station, in Petts Hill, and Stanmore Fire Station, in Honeypot Lane, were built in the 1960s following the closure of the stations at Wealdstone and Harrow-on-the-Hill.