Wednesday 11 December 2002

The Edinburgh fire

It now seems that Saturday night's fire in the Old Town was caused by a faulty fuse box and not arson as originally suggested. It could have been so much worse:
If the fire on Saturday night had started a few hours later when the pubs and nightclubs in the area would have been full to overflowing, there could have been many deaths and injuries.

And without the skill, dedication and equipment of the firefighters who tackled the blaze, the fire could also easily have spread even more quickly than it did. Flames leaping across the narrow streets and closes of the Old Town could have reached the High Street and ripped up the Royal Mile.

The fire services certainly did a good job but I didn't like the tone of this letter from Robin Mainstone:
What a shame for the Fire Brigades Union that it cancelled its strike action prior to last weekend’s fire in the Old Town. This would have been the ideal opportunity to scotch the myth that the army can cope when the professionals are not there.
On the TV news someone said that the firefighters would not have attended the fire had they still been on strike as there was no apparent threat to life. I trust that would not have been the case. The firefighters are a public-sector monopoly and have good work conditions and an excellent pension scheme. Their employment contracts should preclude the right to strike.