‘Difficult times’ since firefighter’s death

Lothian and Borders chief fire officer Jimmy Campbell lays a wreath at Lauriston Fire HQ to mark the second anniversary of death of firefighter Ewan Williamson.' Ewans former collegue Robert Taylor with the plaque in memory of Ewan.
Lothian and Borders chief fire officer Jimmy Campbell lays a wreath at Lauriston Fire HQ to mark the second anniversary of death of firefighter Ewan Williamson.' Ewans former collegue Robert Taylor with the plaque in memory of Ewan.

a SENIOR fire officer from Innerleithen has spoken about the death of Ewan Williamson, the firefighter who lost his life two years ago in Edinburgh.

Mr Williamson died on Sunday, July 12, 2009. He is the only firefighter to be killed while tackling a blaze in the history of the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service.

And Peter Heath, assistant chief officer for the brigade, the first senior officer to speak out about Mr Williamson’s death, paid tribute to how his colleagues have continued to serve the community since the fatal incident.

Mr Heath, previously Berwickshire group manager for the service, said: “The last two years have been extremely difficult.

“Unfortunately, the service attends many accidents and incidents, but when it’s dealt with they can go back to the station and leave it behind.

“When it happens to somebody within your own watch, there’s no walking away from it.

“This never leaves the service and its been a difficult two years.

“I would pay credit to the staff. Even in the darkest days following this event we’ve continued to provide a service.”

A joint police and health and safety executive investigation has still to reach a conclusion.

Mr Heath added: “In the absence of an outcome there’s a very human desire to understand what happened.

“We also need, as a service, to learn any lessons that there are to be learned from what happened to make absolutely sure that it never happens again.

“I have complete confidence in the investigation process and the service wants to make sure that there is no stone left unturned.

“If that takes more time, while it is difficult, it’s something that we accept is necessary.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s taken so long but we’re committed to understanding what happened and we’ll do whatever we can to support that.”