[UK] 40 YEARS ON - Remembering The New Cross Fire


On January 18, 1981, a blaze ripped through the ground floor of a terraced house on New Cross Road, tragically killing 13 young black people.

Between 15-22 years old, the youngsters were attending a birthday party when the devastating fire took hold in the early hours of the morning.

Two years later the fire claimed another, Anthony Berbeck, aged 20, who died after falling from the balcony of a block of council flats in South London. He was at the party and is believed to have taken his own life following the traumatic death of his friends.

Forty years and various inquests later, a conclusion over what sparked the fatal fire has never been reached.

An open verdict has made it difficult for scars in the community to heal – leaving the enduring slogan “13 dead, nothing said.”

In an initial inquest, which was held three months after the fire, it was suggested the fire had originated from a flame inside the party. However, there were reports that a white car was spotted driving away from the scene on New Cross Road.

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