Electrical fault likely cause of fires in Portree block of flats

An electrical fault is the most likely cause of two fires at the same block of Portree flats at the end of last week.

The first blaze at Cruachan Place in Portree broke out in the early hours of last Thursday (9th January).
Fire crews rescued six people from the heavily smoke-logged building, five of whom required hospital treat­ment for smoke inhalation.

The incident was reported at 2.05am and three appliances — one from Portree, one from Uig and one from Staffin — were sent to the scene. Firefighters in breathing apparatus used one main jet, one hose reel jet and an extinguisher to tackle the blaze, which broke out on the first floor.

On Saturday, just after 6.30pm, firefighters were again called to Cruachan Place — this time rescuing two people after fire started in the ground floor.

Crews from Portree and Uig were dispatched and a total of six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property to carry out the rescues and to locate and extinguish the fire, using one main jet and one hose reel jet.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager John MacDonald said: “Recognising the immediate risk to life and potential for fire spread, additional assist­ance was requested and a further fire engine from Staffin was sent to the scene.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the property and quickly located an occupant and subsequently rescued that person from the ground floor. One other person was located on the first floor and removed by the use of a ladder, with both casualties being passed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.”

Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing and fire investigation officers are said to be working closely with colleagues from Police Scotland. Yesterday (Wednesday) residents had still not been allowed to return to the building. A police spokesman said the fire was not thought to be suspicious.

Resident Lorna MacRae said the second fire seemed to have left continued from front page
more damage than the first.
She added: “All my belongings stink of smoke, the walls are black and will need to be cleaned and there was some water damage due to the hose.”

Speaking about the first blaze, the incident commander — station manager Alistair Jupp — said the presence of working smoke alarms had been vital in avoiding tragedy.
He said: “The fact that the properties had working smoke alarms almost certainly prevented a more serious incident.

“The residents were wakened by the alarms and began to make their way out. Our crews had
to rescue six people from the building, but it could have been very different if they had not been given early warning by the alarm.”