Tom  McGuinness

Tom McGuinness

United Kingdom
About: Resident in Lockerbie Area, Disaster Responder - Firefighter
Bio: Tom McGuinness was a farmer and retained firefighter living with his wife Dot in Lockerbie.
  • First Responder
  • Hometown Hero

Putting Out the Flames - Lockerbie Firefighter & Sheep Farmer

The day of the attack

12/21/1988

Tom McGuinness was a farmer and retained firefighter when the terrorist attack happened. A retained firefighter is somebody who is employed in another profession, but is also a fully-trained member of the fire brigade and is able to respond to an emergency.

Tom begins his story with his memories from the night of the disaster.

Tom recalls receiving an alert message from the fire station shortly after he witnessed the Boeing’s engine falling from the sky. He was then sent to the centre of Lockerbie to begin extinguishing fires in what he calls a "disaster zone".

The days following the attack

12/22/1988

Tom estimates that there were around 300-400 firefighters involved on the night of the bombing and the following weeks. 

It’s only recently that Tom has felt able to speak about the tragic event, after decades of keeping silent. He was required to sign an agreement with the FBI, which meant he wasn't allowed to share details about what he witnessed. 

The brave firefighters were tasked with far more than just extinguishing flames and making buildings safe- they were also involved with the recovery of bodies and body parts. 

Tom recalls the local creamery supplying extra water to help fight fires, and how he had to juggle his roles of farmer and firefighter.

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