The former Jenners department store has been a landmark in Edinburgh since the 19th century (PA)
24 January 2023

Firefighter critically hurt in Jenners building fire named as Barry Martin, 38

24 January 2023

The fireman who was critically injured tackling the blaze at the historic Jenners building in Edinburgh has been named.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said Barry Martin, 38, sustained serious injuries and remains in a critical condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

He was one of five firefighters taken to hospital following the fire at the former department store on Monday morning.

Two were treated for burns and two for smoke inhalation and have since been discharged.

A police officer was taken to the same hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation and later released.

At its height, 22 fire appliances were sent to the scene at Rose Street, with more than 100 firefighters battling the blaze which was reported at about 11.30am.

Witnesses saw a soot-covered firefighter being helped from the building by colleagues.

One fire appliance remains on site to help monitor the building for potential hotspots.

Fire service interim chief officer Ross Haggart said: “This was undoubtedly a serious and complex fire.

“Our thoughts are very much with Barry and his family and, indeed, with all of our colleagues who were injured in responding to this incident.

“Barry is a firefighter based in Edinburgh and we ask that everyone please respect his family’s privacy at this time.

“We continue to provide all possible support to our colleagues and their families, as well as all staff involved.

“We are liaising with appropriate partners to ensure a full and thorough investigation is undertaken into this incident.”

He thanked those caring for Mr Martin and the other casualties and praised “our dedicated crews and staff for their professionalism in responding to this challenging incident”.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, along with the surveying team, were looking into that overnight so we don’t yet know the cause.

“Obviously, there was construction work happening on the old Jenners building, so we’ll find out in the next coming days.”

Mr Day added: “I sure I say this on behalf of the whole city, that our thoughts are with the firefighters who risked their lives to save the building and save the people around the city as well, so our thoughts are with their families today.”

The council will assess the building’s structural integrity, Mr Day said, adding: “That is a question we don’t have the answer to yet.”

Asked if the building, which has stood in Princes Street since the 19th century, will survive, Mr Day was unable to be definitive.

“That will be subject to these surveys. I’m hopeful that where we saw the fire yesterday was to the rear of the building and I hope that can be salvaged,” he said.

Police Scotland said inquiries continue into the cause of the fire.

Scotland’s community safety minister Elena Whitham paid tribute to the firefighters who tackled the blaze, saying: “Their sheer bravery and professionalism must be commended.

“Scotland’s communities are lucky to have our valued firefighters, who stand ready to put their personal safety at risk in order to save others. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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