Dec 14 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
A BLAZE that gutted a flat in Aberfoyle was caused by candles used during a power cut, it has been revealed.
Fire crews from Stirling, Doune, Callander and Aberfoyle itself were called to the three-storey block of flats in Dukes Court just after 9am on Friday, December 9.
A spokesperson for the Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service explained the blaze was believed to have started in the living room.
It’s understood the elderly council tenant had been using tea-lights to illuminate her property following a loss of electricity caused by adverse weather at the end of last week.
Although the fire was extinguished just after 10am, crews remained at the scene until 1.30pm dampening down and providing assistance to locals in the surrounding area.
No one was injured and it’s believed the female occupant was away from her property when the blaze initially took hold, and is now staying with relatives nearby.
Firefighters carried-out their duties wearing breathing apparatus, and doused the flames using a single hose reel jet and one main delivery jet.
Gordon Pryde, a group manager with the fire service’s community safety department, advised the region’s residents to use torches if they experience power cuts.
Mr Pryde continued: “The recent storms have caused power cuts in many places and we believe that candles were being used in the property around the time of the fire.
“We would advise everyone, where possible, to use torches if they find themselves in a situation where they have no electricity.
“However, if people are using candles, we want to ensure they are using them safely. They should never be left unattended, always be placed in appropriate holders, and should also be placed well away from electrical items and soft furnishings.
“We want people to be safe in their homes and be aware of the risks that candles can pose. In this instance, a home has been destroyed and this is devastating for the occupants.”
The flat immediately above the property at the centre of the blaze was said to have suffered smoke damage.
Local police officer for the area Constable Liam Ward paid tribute to the fire service personnel who attended the distressing scene.
The officer said: “I am delighted to report that no-one was injured as a result of this fire, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service for their speedy response.
“I would also like to thank the community for allowing the emergency services to deal with the situation unimpeded, and for their assistance in identifying all the residents of Dukes Court – ensuring that everyone was accounted for at the earliest stage.”
A spokesperson for Stirling Council confirmed the tenant would have been offered alternative accommodation if relatives had not stepped forward.
Scores of homes in the Stirlingshire area and beyond were without power at the tail end of last week as winds in the region of 100 miles per hour battered the country.
Fire safety advice can be found at www.centralscotlandfire.gov.uk.