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Anorak | The Fires Of Hell

The Fires Of Hell

by | 13th, December 2005

‘BIRD flu. Terrorism. Cancer. Binge drinking. The European Union. Now adding its name to the list of things that will surely do for us all is fire.

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“AND STILL IT RAGES,” announces the Mail on its front page. The fire at the Buncefield oil depot, near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, screams up through the paper’s headline, enveloping the Mail’s front page in the “flames of hell”.

“OPERATION BUNCEFIELD: THE RACE AGAINST TIME,” says the Mail breathlessly. The paper says that fire chiefs have ordered their men and women to withdraw as the flames “threaten to detonate a tank of lethal chemicals”.

(In the Mirror, chief fire officer Roy Wilsher says firefighters were withdrawn because they were unsure what is in the tank. No chemicals are mentioned.)

As ever in the Mail, when the worst has passed, when the shoots of recovery are fighting their way up through the devastation, the paper taps you on the shoulder, loosens its gas mask and tells you that you’re as good as dead. Just wait until the real disaster arrives.

It’s nothing short of the end of the world. To the Sun this is a “SCENE OF THE APOCALYPSE”.

But how? No great mysteries have been revealed. All we see is a shot of a fireman dousing the flames with foam. We see buildings reduced to ruin. We see melted cars. We see the “highway to hell” that is the M1 motorway.

Like unhappy shades in the Mournful Fields of Acheron, the newsmen wander though “ground zero” looking for the story.

But we see no apocalypse. Better perhaps if the Sun had stuck to its usual language and left the religious stuff well alone. Headlines like “War on fire”, “Terror Strikes Herts” or “Football’s Christmas Party Gets Out Of Hand” would have been better.

But if the papers are going to invoke godly things, perhaps we should just be thankful that the fire is not the end of the world, and that by some fluke not a single person died…’



Posted: 13th, December 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink