Firefighter Barry Martin dies after Jenners blaze
Firefighter Barry Martin has died after he was critically injured tackling a blaze at the historic Jenners building in Edinburgh.
Mr Martin, 38, from Fife, sustained serious injuries during the blaze at the former department store which started on Monday and was one of five firefighters taken to hospital during the city centre blaze.
The firefighter, who was based in Edinburgh, had been in a critical condition at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh since the blaze but Police Scotland said he died on Friday.
Flowers had been left outside the building on Friday evening, with some bouquets stuffed in the fence that now surrounds the building, and others laid at the front of the Princes Street landmark.
Mr Martin is the first Scottish firefighter to die while on duty since Ewan Williamson, who died after being injured at the Balmoral Bar in Edinburgh in 2009.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described Mr Martin’s death in the line of duty as “dreadfully sad news”.
“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,” she said.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, hailed Mr Martin as a “dedicated firefighter and a well-loved member of the firefighting community”.
“Like so many firefighters, he put himself at risk to save the lives of others,” he said.
Mr Martin, who was responding to what the fire service described as a “serious and complex” blaze, was one of more than 100 firefighters who were dispatched to the 19th century building on Monday.
Elena Whitham, minister for community safety, said Scotland was “lucky to have our valued firefighters who every day put their personal safety at risk to protect our communities and save the lives of others” and hailed Mr Martin as a “brave and courageous firefighter”.
Ross Haggart, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s interim chief officer, said he and his colleagues were “devastated” at Mr Martin’s death.
“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,” he said.
“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.
This is dreadfully sad news. My deepest condolences go to Barry’s family, friends and colleagues. 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. https://t.co/7EnFdhud1V
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 27, 2023
“Barry’s family would also like to thank all the medical staff who have cared for him.”
Founded in 1838, the department store was one of the oldest in the world when it closed in 2021.
The A-listed current building dates to 1895, after a fire destroyed the original.
Renovations are ongoing to transform it into a hotel, backed by a firm owned by fashion billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen.
At the height of the blaze on Monday, which was reported at about 11.30am, 22 fire appliances were sent to the scene at Rose Street.
With profound sadness we can confirm that Firefighter Barry Martin has passed away following the serious injuries sustained during a large fire at the former Jenners building in Edinburgh.
Interim Chief Officer Ross Haggart has issued this statement: https://t.co/lzsWyjwvk9 pic.twitter.com/hjbIvdFie2
— Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (@fire_scot) January 27, 2023
Witnesses saw a soot-covered firefighter being helped from the building by colleagues.
In all, six emergency workers were taken to hospital, five firefighters and one police officer.
Two firefighters were treated for burns, and a police officer and two firefighters for smoke inhalation. They have since been discharged.
Superintendent David Robertson of Police Scotland said: “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Barry at this very difficult time.
“Our inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”