Man collapsed as bar evacuated in gas leak fears

Paramedics attend the scene in the Old Town.Picture: Jason Andreas
Paramedics attend the scene in the Old Town.Picture: Jason Andreas
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A PUB-goer was taken to hospital after collapsing following a suspected gas leak in an Old Town bar.

Revellers in the Pilgrim, just off the Cowgate, were evacuated after staff reported a “smell of burning” just before last orders.

The Pilgrim Bar was evacuated. Picture: Google Maps

The Pilgrim Bar was evacuated. Picture: Google Maps

Three fire engines were scrambled to the Robertson’s Close bar shortly before 1am yesterday.

Firefighters called two specialist units to the venue after fears were raised about a gas leak.

The Cowgate was cordoned off between Bannerman’s bar and High School Wynd for several hours while crews made sure the scene was safe.

The Robertson’s Close student accommodation complex was among the properties evacuated in the early-morning drama.

Specialist firefighters from the hazard units later concluded that the leak stemmed from refrigerant gas.

A 24-year-old man was reported to have collapsed at the scene and given oxygen by paramedics before being taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as a precaution. The cordon was lifted shortly before 4am.

Robertson’s Close resident Jason Andreas, who watched the drama unfold, was evacuated and allowed to return home more than three hours later. He said: “I heard some noises outside and looked outside the security gate to see a ladder.

“I thought someone was breaking in but it turned out to be a fireman who told us there had been some sort of chemical leak in the Pilgrim.

“A man was being treated by ambulance staff and was taken away. He had told people in the bar that there was a smell – and then he collapsed.

“About 25 people were evacuated and officers were asking them questions.”

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Fire crews attended after we had a call about the smell of burning. Three pumps arrived but on arrival, they called for a chemical response to determine if there was gas in the property.

“We asked our monitoring unit from McDonald Road and environmental unit from Crewe Toll to mobilise. On arrival, they asked the crews to use two breathing apparatus and gas monitoring equipment to measure the air. The units found that there was a leak from a refrigerator.

“A 24-year-old man asked for oxygen and was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as a precaution.”

He said that a chemical response is always put in place when there are fears of a gas leak. The other fire engines at the scene had been scrambled from the McDonald Road and Tollcross stations.

Pilgrim, which opened in 2013, is a popular haunt with students and backpackers.

It is owned by Attraction Inns, which also runs a variety of other bars and clubs in the Capital and Stirling.

Staff at Pilgrim declined to comment on the incident.