Ewan Williamson ‘would be torn’ over safety lapse

Ewan Williamson

Ewan Williamson

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A HERO firefighter killed in a pub blaze would not have wanted his colleagues to feel guilty over his death, according to his grieving girlfriend.

Lynsey Baird had been in a relationship with Ewan Williamson for five years when he died tackling a fire at the Balmoral Bar, in Dalry Road, in 2009.

The 34-year-old, who now lives in Australia, was moved to tears when she heard the brave fireman’s last radio messages read out at the Court of Session in Edinburgh last Monday, after the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) admitted a string of health and safety breaches in the fire that claimed his life.

The court heard how Ewan, 34, took a wrong turn and became trapped in a toilet directly above the fire.

His Green Watch colleagues from Tollcross Fire Station were among those who battled to save him but they had to escape as the floor collapsed.

Ewan’s last message was: “I’ll be there in a minute, boss. I’m stuck.”

Lynsey said: “Ewan loved his job. He was always happy to get to work and his watch were especially tight-knit. They were genuinely brothers.

“He wouldn’t have wanted his brothers to feel guilty, not any of them. I know his colleagues were devastated by Ewan’s death. They tried everything they could to save him.

“As for the guilty verdict, I know Ewan would be conflicted. But he would just want to make sure this never happens to anyone again.”

The former dancer and fitness instructor was getting ready for work on Tuesday morning when she saw a news report about the court case, which revealed the full details of the fire for the first time.

She said: “My heart broke all over again, if that’s possible.

“Knowing a bit more detail doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make it easier or worse.

“I still don’t know the full details of how he died and choose not to. It’s just too much to take – even after all this time.

“I knew about the radio contact but I didn’t want to know his exact last words. Now everyone knows and so do I. I always knew he wouldn’t have been afraid and he would have had faith in his brothers to come and find him. Ewan was a proud firefighter and I’d say he died that way. He would not have been afraid.”

The couple, who lived together in Barnton, had planned to get married and start a family together.

But since his death Lynsey has moved to Australia – a country Ewan loved – as she found Edinburgh held too many memories for her.

Although she misses him every day, Lynsey said she believes Ewan would be happy for her as she plans to marry her fiancée Clint McCulloch in April next year. She said: “I did find it terribly hard to move on – and I sometimes feel guilty that I’m getting married.

“I’m lucky to have a good man, Clint, who supports me and knows all about Ewan. I told him on our first date about Ewan – it’s too big a part of me to keep in.”

Lynsey added: “Ewan had a hero’s spirit – he was all about looking after your fellow man, cherishing your loved ones and living each day to the fullest.

“We spent our last weekend together in the Lake District – we rode bikes in the rain, got soaked to the skin and were so happy. I know Ewan would want me to be happy and live life as he did – to the full and not letting go of any opportunities.”

Lord Uist deferred sentence on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service until March 20.