Brazil pays tribute to Valley Parade fire victims
Plaque unveiled at Museum of Football
Thirty years ago, 56 people went to a football match and never returned home as the Valley Parade fire proved to be one of the worst sporting disasters in recent history.
To commemorate the anniversary of the events that transpired on Saturday 11th May 1985, a memorial was held in Bradford’s Centenary Square last week whilst elsewhere, respects were also being paid at the other side of the world.
In Brazil, a fellow Bradfordian who suffered burns in the fire as a young football fan, unveiled a plaque at Sao Paulo’s Museum of Football to commemorate those who died in the blaze in the Main Stand.
Wasim Mir is currently the Deputy Ambassador in Brazil’s British Embassy and was 13-years-old when he was forced to run onto the pitch for his own safety.
Recalling the moment the fire struck, he said: “I had been taken to the match by my uncle, Reza Mir, to celebrate Bradford collecting the Third Division league trophy. As a special treat he bought tickets for the main stand.
“Just before half time the section of the stand we were seated in was asked to evacuate by the police because of a small fire.
“I remember walking calmly along the back of the stand when all of a sudden smoke was everywhere. After that I just remember running towards the pitch as fast as I could, I could feel the heat on my head and covered my head with my hand to protect it.
“After that I just wandered around the pitch looking for my uncle and started to panic. Luckily I eventually found him unhurt.
“Although I saw the police carrying away a body in a make shift stretcher made out of a police jacket the extent of the what happened didn’t register.
“It only dawned on me later when I went to hospital to have my injuries treated and saw hundreds of people with burns.”
On Tuesday 12th May, Mr Mir was joined by Museum of Football director, Luiz Bloch, to unveil the memorial plaque which will be homed amongst some of the sport’s most renowned memorabilia.
It was the Deputy Ambassador’s idea to bring the tribute to the museum and after consulting officials from the museum itself and the Fire Remembrance Panel in Bradford, it was confirmed that a tribute would be installed.
“As someone who was injured in the fire it felt like a real honour to unveil the plaque at the Football Museum in Sao Paulo,” Mr Mir added.
“It feels fitting to have those who died remembered in Brazil, a country so closely associated with football, the country of Pele, Zico and Romario.
“It was good to talk to the Executive Director of the Museum, Luiz Bloch about the impact the Bradford City Fire had had in terms of initiating improvements in stadiums in the UK, making them safer and more family friendly.”