Newington Fire: Residents forced to find temporary accommodation and road closures still in place

Newington residents have been warned that they may not be allowed to return to their homes until next week following a fire that broke out at a popular fish and chip shop.

The fire, which was reported at around 11:30 on Monday, saw Franco’s Fish and Chip shop on Summerhall Place, engulfed in flames, causing significant damage to several flats above the premises and neighbouring Chinese takeaway, Panda Kitchen.

Other businesses on the street remain closed, including The Meadows Pottery, Grange Clocks and the Summerhall Bethany Shop.

It is understood that structural engineers, contracted by the Edinburgh Council’s Shared Repairs service will begin assessing structural damage to flats and businesses on the Southside street today.

A picture taken yesterday afternoon reveals the devastation caused by the fire.

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Some residents have been allowed to enter their properties over the last two days for a short period of time to collect personal belongings but it remains unknown when they will be allowed to return permanently.

The Newington residents have been forced to find temporary accommodation whilst “make safe” work is carried out this week, and contractors have advised they will hopefully have an update of the building’s structural integrity by the end of the week.

The council advised that once contractors have deemed certain properties safe it will then be for property owners to undertake permanent repairs through their insurance companies.

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said that a contractor has been instructed to “carry out essential work inside the chip shop before make safe work can proceed.”

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It is understood that works include propping up ceilings at basement and ground floor level.

Summerhall Place and adjacent street, Lord Russell Place, will remain closed off to vehicles with road diversion signs in place. Pedestrian access has been reinstated but barriers remain around all properties and commercial premises in the vicinity of where the fire broke out.

The council advised that the road is likely to remain closed for the next few days.

The Drouthy Neebors pub, situated at the end of the street, was open for business today but staff advised that they could be told to close following results that come from the ongoing investigation.

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In the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s fire, the popular arts venue, Summerhall, became an “unofficial muster point” according to the organisation’s Executive Director, Graham Main.

Mr Main said: “We have a lot of sympathy for the businesses and people that were across there.

"These guys are our neighbours here and we were really worried for them, that they were displaced for the afternoon, so we took them in and offered lots of people cups of tea – thankfully there was no loss of life."

Mr Main explained that at the time of the fire between eight and ten shows were taking place in the venue and Summerhall staff were quick to usher visitors from the courtyard into their cafe and the Royal Dick bar to avoid guests suffering from smoke inhalation.

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He said: “We were quite lucky that it wasn’t a busy time for us – we’re much busier later on in the day.”

He added: “We were very lucky that we were having our fire inspection at the time so we were supported by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who were there to help make decisions.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Around 11.40 am on Monday, August 8, police and emergency services attended a fire at a chip shop on Summerhall Place, Edinburgh.

"Three people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

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"Enquiries are ongoing, although the fire is not believed to be suspicious."