Fire crews continue to tackle city blaze
FIREFIGHTERS were yesterday continuing to dampen down a blaze that broke out in Edinburgh's Old Town on Friday night.
Hundreds of Christmas revellers were forced to flee when a fire broke out at Khushi's Indian Restaurant in the city's Victoria Street. Two neighbouring venues, The Liquid Room and Finnegan's Wake, were also evacuated.
Yesterday, around 15 firefighters were continuing to dampen down hot spots in the building as scaffolding was being prepared to make the building safe to allow crews direct access inside.
The roof has collapsed and the building's floors are currently sagging and unsafe to walk on as they have been damaged by fire, debris and water. The water damage has also spread to the venues next door, meaning they are unlikely to reopen for several weeks.
There were no injuries as diners were able to escape once alerted by smoke detectors. The blaze is thought to have broken out in the restaurant's roof space. The fire, which started just after 8pm, blazed for two hours before being brought under control by more than 45 firefighters using seven appliances.
Two further blazes also broke out in the city on Friday night, putting further pressure on emergency services. The first, which started at around 9pm at Rick's Bar in Frederick Street, spread into flats, and seven residents had to be led to safety.
A further blaze took hold in the city's Moredun Park Street at 9.24pm when a chip-pan caught fire in a flat. A woman was treated for smoke inhalation, the only injury in the three locations.
Yesterday, David Mallin, area manager for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, admitted the Victoria Street fire had been a difficult one for the crew to tackle, but said it was now under control.
Speaking at the scene of the blaze, he said: "We have pumps and a height appliance still there, as there are small hot spots that we can't get access to that we keep having to dampen down. Once we get scaffolding up, we will be able to continue our investigation.
"The water has damaged Khushi's, The Liquid Room and Finnegan's Wake so the ceilings are sagging and in danger of coming down and they will be out of action for the foreseeable future.
"For us it was a difficult job because of the access, and trying to get into the place. We had crews in the roof space, but it started to collapse so we had to withdraw them and it's always more difficult to fight the fire from outside.
"It was awkward and difficult and it was blazing for a good couple of hours before we got it under control."
The fire service also found that the building had been renovated and changed over the years, creating "undetected fire spread" with new pockets of flames emerging and erupting out of control.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
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