‘Everyone must hope an answer is forthcoming’

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IT is now almost three years since firefighter Ewan Williamson lost his life as he battled bravely to bring a blaze under control in the city’s Balmoral Bar.

Every day that has passed since will have been a painful one for his mother Linda, sisters Rachel and Rebecca and partner Lynsey.

Nothing that can be done now will ever repair that loss, which is also keenly felt by Ewan’s many friends and colleagues.

But the fact that we still do not know the circumstances behind the tragedy at the Dalry Road pub makes it impossible for all those most closely involved to move on.

His loved ones most obviously need answers to their questions. And his former colleagues need to know the full facts, so that they can be certain that everything possible is being done to protect other firefighters in future, taking on board any lessons that could be learned from this tragedy.

It seems incredible to the outside eye that conclusions cannot be reached two years and nine months later.

Although we cannot know the complexities involved in this clearly difficult investigation, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the least Ewan’s family and colleagues deserve after so long is a fuller explanation of why the investigation has been so long delayed.

This investigation is clearly too important to be tainted by any suggestion that even a small part of it has been rushed by outside pressures. No stone must be left unturned in getting to the truth.

But everyone must hope that answers will be forthcoming soon.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation, one thing is beyond doubt – the heroism of Ewan and his colleagues who gave no thought to their own safety.

That is why the Evening News is proud to lead the campaign for his courage to be recognised with the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Portobello pain

THE news that the building of a new Portobello High could be delayed for a further 18 to 24 months is disappointing.

While all sides should have their say, especially on a major development, teachers and parents at the crumbling school are frustrated.

It is accepted that Portobello needs a new school. The council wants to build it and the Court of Session has already ruled that this is legal.

Who is benefiting from continued legal challenge? Certainly not the taxpayers of Edinburgh who will face another hefty legal bill. And certainly not the children of Portobello who deserve a modern school.