Barry Martin: Tributes pour in for firefighter who died from Edinburgh Jenners fire injuries
Tributes have poured in for hero firefighter Barry Martin who died four days after being critically injured tackling the blaze at Jenners. The Edinburgh-based fire fighter was one of five hurt after being called to the historic building on Monday (January 23).
The 38-year-old from Fife had been in a critical condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but on Friday afternoon it was announced he had died. The tragic news has shaken the capital and the firefighting community across the UK.
Members of the public left flowers outside the former department store.
Four colleagues of Mr Martin were taken to hospital and later discharged. More than 100 firefighters were part of the massive emergency response to the fire which chiefs descrbied as ‘serious and complex.’
Ross Haggart, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s interim chief officer, said he and his colleagues were “devastated” at Mr Martin’s death. He posted an emotional message saying Mr Martin’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.”
Many have taken to social media to post an image of a black circle with a red line through it – a symbol used by fire departments to show respect for firefighters injured and killed in the line of duty.
The Fire Brigade Museum rang a bell eight times. In a tweet on Saturday morning it posted: "We toll 8 bells, end of watch for Firefighter Barry Martin of @fire_scot who passed away yesterday as a result of injuries sustained at a fire in #edinburgh on Monday. May he rest in peace.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the tragedy was a "reminder of the selfless courage our firefighters demonstrate in the line of duty each and every day". Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole Hamilton is calling for Mr Martin, from Fife, to be awarded the George Cross in the wake of his death.
The MSP said his actions “went above and beyond the call of duty”. He said: “I will be making representations for Barry to be awarded the George Cross posthumously in honour of his extraordinary bravery.”
Edinburgh shop Hanover Healthfoods announced it was making a donation to the Firefighters Charity in the wake of Mr Martin’s death “so that all firefighters can feel our appreciation for the risks that they take to keep us all safe”.
One Scots fire chief called on people to take down videos of Mr Martin, alluding to shared footage of him being removed from the building by colleagues. Karla Stevenson, Station Commander for Skye and Raasay said: "If you tweeted/retweeted videos or images of the fire at Jenners (you will know the ones I mean) then now would be a good time to delete those tweets out of respect for FF Martins loved ones and colleagues.”
Mr Martin was also remembered by his colleagues in other forces. Dublin Fire Brigade said: “Terribly sad news from Scotland this evening as Firefighter Barry Martin has passed away following injuries sustained in a fire. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
Patrick Goulbourne, assistant commissioner of London Fire Brigade, wrote on social media: "My sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Firefighter Barry Martin who died protecting others."
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingston said: "Very sad news. Everyone in Police Scotland sends love and best wishes to Barry's family and friends and to all our colleagues in the SFRS."