Edinburgh Jenners fire: Firefighter Barry Martin dies from injuries sustained in fire at Jenners building in Princes Street
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Barry Martin suffered serious injuries after the former department store in Princes Street went up in flames on Monday. The 38-year-old was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh by ambulance and was said to be in a critical condition in the days after the fire. He died on Friday.
Ross Haggart, interim chief officer at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, confirmed the tragic news on Friday evening. "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,” he said.
He added: “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."
Mr Martin was described by Matt Wrack, general secretary at the Fire Brigades Union, as a “dedicated firefighter and well-loved member of the firefighting community”. “Like so many firefighters he put himself at risk to save the lives of others,” he added. “In due course, we will investigate the events that led to his death. Today, we are grieving for a colleague and friend.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the news as “dreadfully sad”. “My deepest condolences go to Barry’s family, friends and colleagues,” she said. “This is a terrible tragedy for all who loved him - but also a reminder of the selfless courage our firefighters demonstrate in the line of duty each and every day.”
The Fife native had been called with his colleagues to the historic Edinburgh landmark at around 11.35am on Monday after smoke and flames were seen coming from the windows of the building. The roads surrounding the building were closed off, with twenty-two fire appliances and more than 100 firefighters having attended the scene.
Mr Martin was one of five firefighters to be taken to hospital following the incident. Of the other four, two were treated for smoke inhalation while another two were treated for burns. All four were discharged on Monday. A police officer was also taken to hospital for treatment but was released.
Superintendent David Robertson, of Police Scotland’s 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.”
It is the first time a firefighter has died in the line of duty in Scotland since Ewan Williamson was killed in a blaze at the Balmoral Bar in Dalry Road, Gorgie. The 35-year-old died in the Capital on July 12, 2009 after he became trapped in a toilet while battling flames at the pub.
Despite efforts by his colleagues to rescue him from the smoke-filled building, Mr Williamson could not be reached and his body was later discovered. He was the first firefighter in the history of the Lothian and Borders Fire Service to die in the line of duty and had been on annual leave at the time of the fire.