Fire fighters battle blaze at Jenners building in Edinburgh, fire fighter dies, Scotland
Fire crews, police and ambulance staff were dispatched to the empty department store on Rose Street at about 11h30 on Monday, 23 January 2023. Ross Haggart is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s interim chief officer. He said in a statement on Monday, "The fire at the Jenners building in Edinburgh is a very serious and complex incident and regrettably I can confirm that five of our colleagues were taken to hospital for treatment.” Four others were also transported to hospital and have subsequently been discharged. Two were treated for smoke inhalation and two for burns. however, one remains in a critical condition. The families of all those affected have been made aware.” Unfortunately the critically injured fire fighter, Barry Martin, aged 38, from Fife, succumbed to his injuries on Friday.
Interim chief officer Haggart said in a statement on Friday, 27 January 2023, “It is with profound sadness that I confirm, on behalf of his family, that Barry Martin has passed away this afternoon following the serious injuries he sustained during a large-scale fire at the former Jenners building in Edinburgh. Barry, who was being treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, had been in a critical condition since Monday's fire. I speak for the entire Service when I say that we are all devastated by the loss of Barry and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and colleagues at this deeply distressing time. Both Barry’s family and the Service have been overwhelmed with the messages of support we have received and we thank everyone for the time they have taken to share these. Barry’s family would also like to thank all the medical staff who have cared for him. I would now ask that we all allow Barry’s family, friends and colleagues to grieve in private.”
At its height 22 fire appliances were mobilised to the scene at Rose Street, with more than 100 fire fighters working in difficult conditions to bring the building fire under control. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was well-established when they arrived.
The Scottish Ambulance Service was also at the scene. A spokesperson said, "We received the call at 11:49 and have dispatched 14 resources."
Eyewitnesses have described smoke pouring out of the basement area of the department store.
The police cordon was later extended to cover the whole of St Andrew Square. Staff from nearby offices has been evacuated.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said a number of roads had been closed in the surrounding area, adding, "Please avoid the area if possible and heed advice re alternative routes."
Jenners building history Founded in 1838, the Jenners building was one of the oldest department stores in the world until it closed. It has been undergoing restoration due to take four years. Under the plan, about 10 000m2 of disused rooms in the six-storey building are due to be made into a hotel.
The current building was designed by architect William Hamilton Beattie in the Victorian renaissance revival style and opened in 1895, after the original building was destroyed by fire in 1892.
The building was sold to private investors in 2005 after House of Fraser bought the Jenners brand and property.
It was then bought by Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen in 2017 for a reported £53m.
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