Edinburgh Debenhams incident: Princes Street reopened after crews respond to ongoing fire

Edinburgh’s main high street has been reopened after more than 30 firefighters were called to tackle flames in a department store.

By Katharine Hay
Monday, 19th April 2021, 11:00 pm

Princes Street was closed both ways between Castle Street and Frederick Street on Monday from just after 1:30pm as fire crews battle an ongoing blaze in the ground and lower ground floor of Debenhams.

Emergency services were spotted assisting with the ongoing incident in nearby Rose Street and Frederick Street and a police cordon was put across Castle Street.

No-one was injured in the fire, according a spokeswoman from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), who confirmed crews would be dealing with the fire “for some time”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service dealing with an ongoing incident in Princes Street picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPI Media

Princes Street was reopened to traffic around 5:30pm as emergency services left the scene. Tram services have also resumed along the full route.

Pictures taken at the scene showed a firefighter being lifted in an appliance’s aerial ladder outside the department store’s entrance in Princes Street.

One witness said she saw smoke coming from inside Debenhams and firefighters were seen entering the building with hoses and wearing oxygen masks.

Another witness said customers from the nearby Boots store were being evacuated and buses had to reverse backwards on Princes Street after it was closed by emergency services.

Fire crews pictured outside a backdoor to Prince's Street Debenhams branch picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPI Media

An SFRS spokeswoman said of the incident: “More than 30 firefighters are working to extinguish a large fire at the Debenhams building on Princes Street, Edinburgh

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 1:23pm on Monday, April 19 to reports of a fire on the ground floor of the building.

“Operations Control immediately mobilised four fire engines and an aerial appliance to the scene.

“Crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the building where the fire was found to be within the ground and lower ground floor and a further four appliances were mobilised.

Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland in attendance at Princes Street incident picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPI Media

“No casualties have been reported. Crews remain on the scene and are expected to do so for some time as they work to make the area safe and extinguish the fire.”

Due to the Princes Street closure, Edinburgh Trams had to temporarily run services between Edinburgh Airport and Murrayfield only.

A police spokesman said: “Around 1:45pm on Monday, 19 April, officers were called to a premises on Princes Street, Edinburgh, to assist Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a fire.

"There have been no reported injuries and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances. Emergency services remain at the scene."

Firefighter pictured up an aerial ladder as emergency services respond to incident outside Debenhams in Edinburgh picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPI Media

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.