Michael lost his life in the line of duty on the 29th of September 1969. His Red Plaque was presented on the anniversary of his death, the 29th of September 2018.
A firefighter at Shoreditch Fire Station, Michael Lee was killed by a roof collapse while searching for children believed to be trapped in a fire. Michael was from Rainham, Essex, and had turned twenty-one less than a month before his death. He was engaged to marry in the Spring.
Having served as a firefighter for four years, Michael was leading one of two crews called to a fire in a derelict World War Two air raid shelter at the back of a car park on Goswell Road. As the firefighters approached a blaze, children ran away, and it was feared that others may be trapped. Michael’s last words were: ‘Kids started this. Come on. They might still be in there.’ Once he entered the building the roof collapsed without warning, killing Michael and trapping two others until twenty-eight firefighters managed to remove the rubble.
On the day of his funeral in October 1969, three hundred firefighters lined the streets. Today, Michael is fondly remembered by many former colleagues, firefighters serving at Shoreditch, and his family, who attended the ceremony to unveil his memorial Plaque on the wall of his former station.
Photo credits: Fire Brigades Union