Fires blaze on the Fair Isle

Fair Isle Bird Observatory, June 2010 © Copyright Julian Paren (licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence)

Four fire crews rushed to the Fair Isle Bird Observatory in Scotland – one of Fair Isle’s biggest attractions – following a fire erupting in the early morning on 11 March.

Although no one was injured, the £4 million building, which opened in June 2014, suffered extensive damage, which will be assessed in the coming days.

After the crew of a passing ferry – who turned back upon seeing the smoke billowing into the air – reported the incident to the Shetland Coastguard Operations Centre, one fire engine, based on the Fair Isle, was called out with assistance sought from other emergency services in order to bring in additional support from crews nearby.

Coastguard search and rescue helicopter Rescue 900, based at Sumburgh, assisted in transporting one crew from Lerwick to the remote island with the lifeboat service transporting the two further crews from Lerwick and Sandwick.

Councillor George Smith said: “My thoughts are with members of the Fair Isle community. Thankfully from initial reports, there have been no injuries and the local fire crew, along with the crews who have gone to it, deserve praise for their efforts.” He added: “The damage will be assessed in the coming days and weeks and hopefully it will not have too big an impact on the Fair Isle economy, which benefits so much from the influx of bird watchers and tourists.”

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