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Former Bradford City chairman ‘linked to eight fires before Valley Parade inferno’

The former chairman of Bradford City has reportedly been linked to at least eight other fires which occurred prior to the disaster at Valley Parade which killed 56 people.

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The Guardian reports that the 1985 inferno was one of a number of blazes at companies owned by or associated with then chairman Stafford Heginbotham.

Information published for the first time by Martin Fletcher, a Bantams supporters who lost three generations of his family in the fire, suggests it was not an accident. He managed to escape the flames, but his brother, father, uncle and grandfather all lost their lives.

His book about the tragedy, entitled ‘Fifty-Six – Story of the Bradford Fire’, is published tomorrow.

The serialisation in The Guardian reveals that at least eight other fires linked to Mr Heginbotham’s businesses took place in the 18 previous years, and led to massive insurance claims.

According to Fletcher, Heginbotham learned two days before the Valley Parade blaze that it would cost him £2m to get the stadium up to safety standards for promotion to the old Division Two.

Heginbotham died a decade after the disaster and was not prosecuted, despite the coroner later stating that he considered a manslaughter charge.

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