Dec 30 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
LOCAL police and fire crews have reiterated potentially life-saving advice following two similar fires within a month.
Worried staff and residents had to be evacuated from the Killin Hotel recently after a bedroom was damaged following a blaze caused by a candle.
A spokesperson for the Central Scotland Fire and Rescue service said that four appliances were dispatched to the rural location shortly after 6.30am on Friday, December 23.
It follows crews from Stirling, Doune, Callander and Aberfoyle being called to a three-storey block of flats in Aberfoyle’s Dukes Court just after 9am on Friday, December 9.
The Killin fire was said to have been contained within a single bedroom within the picturesque venue, situated on the banks of the River Lochay, and extinguished by crews using a hose reel jet.
Local PC Andy Ward said: “It is believed that the fire started when a candle which had been lit several hours earlier had been left unattended.
“Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the fire – although a number of residents were evacuated from the building while it was being checked.
“This is the second time in as many weeks that a local fire has been started by a candle being left unattended.
“Members of the public should be careful, not only with candles, but open fires too.”
The fire service spokesperson explained the earlier Aberfoyle blaze was believed to have originated in the property’s living room.
It’s understood that the occupant, an elderly council tenant, had been using tea-lights to illuminate her property following a loss of electricity caused by adverse weather conditions.
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 resident was away from her property when the fire 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 locals to use torches if they experience power cuts.
Mr Pryde continued: “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.”
Mr Pryde’s sentiments were echoed by Central Scotland Police’s community officer for the Aberfoyle area, PC Liam Ward.
Fire safety tips can be found at www.centralscotlandfire.gov.uk
Central Scotland Police can be reached on 01786 456000, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.