Reported in the News Letter on April 11, 1957: Off-field drama as fire strikes at Windsor Park during match

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Ireland 0 Wales 0

Firemen and not footballers created most of the excitement last night at Windsor Park, where Ireland and Wales played a goalless draw in one of the poorest internationals by teams of the two countries.

Just as the game was about to end and bring relief to the boredom, fire broke out in the top corner of the stand at the “Spion Kop” end of the ground.

Spectators were filing out of their seats quietly when the alarm was raised. Fire extinguishers and water were applied to smouldering wood. The prompt action confined the damage to a few boards and there was no panic.

As a precautionary measure the Fire Brigade was summoned. Two machines were despatched from the Lisburn Road station and they had to pass their way through the crowd leaving the ground. One jet was used, but only to make certain that the fire was out.

It is believed to have been caused by a lighted cigarette end, and it was fortunate that the discovery was made while the ground was occupied, otherwise the stand might have been severely damaged. There was a strong wind blowing to fan the flames had they got a grip on the building, which has wood flooring and seats.

To return to the match, the players who were worthy of international recognition could be counted on one hand.

The FA of Italy had observers at the game in view of their World Cup match against Ireland a fortnight hence. What they saw will not require a report on special plans to deal with the Irish when they go to Rome. If it is proved eventually that they were fooled by this performance then we will be able to look back on this display against Wales as a great success.

[Northern Ireland lost 1-0 against Italy on April 25, 1957]