Firefighters battle blaze at well-known former department store in Edinburgh

Dozens of firefighters are tackling a blaze at the Jenners building in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to the fire at the former department store at 11.29am.

The building was found “well alight” and a total of 10 fire appliances have been sent to the scene on Rose Street in the city centre.

No casualties have been reported and some streets in the area have been closed.

Jenners fire
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the Jenners building in Edinburgh (Dan Barker/PA)

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We were alerted at 11.29am on Monday January 23 to reports of a building fire at Rose Street, Edinburgh.

“Operations Control immediately mobilised two appliances to the scene and, on arrival, firefighters found a building well alight.

“A further eight appliances, including a high reach, were mobilised and crews remain on scene as they work to extinguish the fire. No casualties have been reported.”

The service later said a total of 22 appliances and other specialist resources were sent to the scene.

Marks and Spencer and the Mercure Hotel, in Princes Street, have been closed as firefighters work in the neighbouring former department store, and some buildings have been 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.”

Jenners department store
The department store was one of the oldest in the world (Jane Barlow/PA)

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 the shop, 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.