Edinburgh: Firefighter critically injured in blaze at old Jenners department store

A firefighter is fighting for their life after being injured battling a blaze at the old Jenners department store building in Edinburgh.

Five firefighters were hurt during the blaze at the landmark former department store in the Scottish capital, which crews were called to at 11.29am on Monday.

Ross Haggart, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's interim chief officer, said: “The fire at the Jenners building in Edinburgh is a very serious and complex incident and regrettably I can confirm that five of our colleagues have been taken to hospital for treatment and one remains in a critical condition.”

And a spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union said it was aware of a number of injuries to firefighters.

“We can confirm that five firefighters have been treated at the scene or at hospital, one of whom is in a serious condition,” the spokesman said.

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Emergency services shut roads around the building, from which flames were seen coming out of the ground floor.

A total of 22 appliances and other specialist resources were sent to the scene at the fire’s height.

Marks and Spencer and the Mercure Hotel, on Princes Street, were closed as firefighters worked in the neighbouring former department store, and other buildings in the area were evacuated.

“I work at one of the businesses nearby and I nipped out for lunch and tried to get in but we have been evacuated,” one worker said.

“I was aware of the sirens and it was one of my team that said Jenners was on fire.

“The building's beautiful. It's such a beautiful piece of architecture, it's such a shame, especially with it shutting down and lying kind of empty.”

Having seen the start of the blaze from Princes Street, Alan Potts, 64, said: “Obviously, the tour buses go up this street, and we thought the fire was originally in Sainsbury’s, but it was Jenners which they’re working in.

“There was about five or six fire engines all appeared at the same time.

“There was just heavy smoke, I didn't see any flames at any point.

“Lots of ambulances about, which makes us think there might have been someone inside but never saw anyone coming out.”

Founded in 1838, the department store was one of the oldest in the world when it closed in 2021.

The A-listed current building dates to 1895, after a fire destroyed the original.

Renovations are ongoing to transform it into a hotel, backed by a firm owned by fashion billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen.