A firefighter has died in hospital from his injuries after battling a blaze a the old Jenners department store in Edinburgh. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was called to the fire at the former store on Monday morning (23 January).
Barry Martin, 38, sustained critical injuries and was one of five firefighters taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after attending the scene near to Princes Street. A police officer was also treated for his injuries.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s interim chief officer, Ross Haggart, said that Barry’s colleagues were “devastated” by the news of his death. He said in a statement: “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.”
Superintendent David Robertson, of Edinburgh division, said: “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Barry at this very difficult time. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”
The historic department store building was found “well alight” at around 11:30am on Monday morning. At least 10 fire engines were sent to the scene on Rose Street in the city centre.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We were alerted at 11.29am on Monday January 23 to reports of a building fire at Rose Street, Edinburgh.
“Operations Control immediately mobilised two appliances to the scene and, on arrival, firefighters found a building well alight.
“A further eight appliances, including a high reach, were mobilised and crews remain on scene as they work to extinguish the fire. No casualties have been reported.”
Marks and Spencer and the Mercure Hotel, in Princes Street, were closed as firefighters work in the neighbouring former department store, and some buildings nearby were evacuated.
One worker said: “I work at one of the businesses nearby and I nipped out for lunch and tried to get in but we have been evacuated. I was aware of the sirens and it was one of my team that said Jenners was on fire.
“The building’s beautiful. It’s such a beautiful piece of architecture, it’s such a shame, especially with it shutting down and lying kind of empty.”