A ceremony marking the 14th anniversary of the Balmoral Bar fire to honour fallen firefighter Ewan Williamson has been held in Edinburgh.
At 00:38am, on July 12, 2009, Firefighter Williamson was a member of the first attending crews at a fire in the basement of the Balmoral Bar on Dalry Road in Edinburgh.
As the devastating fire spread, Ewan and his colleagues were deployed to tackle the fire in the basement and ground floor levels.
This enabled other SFRS personnel to carry out multiple rescues of occupants from domestic flats in the three floors above, whose lives were endangered by the smoke and flames.
Firefighter Williamson, who was 35 and a member of the Green Watch at Tollcross Fire Station, entered the building wearing breathing apparatus as part of the efforts to extinguish the fire.
Tragically, he became trapped during firefighting operations and lost his life in the line of duty.
A total of 16 people, including a baby, were rescued that night, an outcome that could have been very different had it not been for the bravery of Ewan and his colleagues responding to the incident.
At Parliament Square on Wednesday afternoon pipers played in honour of the fallen firefighter.
Following a ceremony at St Giles’ Cathedral, a minute’s silence was observed and then followed by a wreath laying ceremony involving members of Ewan’s family alongside the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Chief Officer Ross Haggart.
Wreaths were also laid by representatives of the Fire Brigades Union, and the Chief Fire Officer of the SFRS.
CO Haggart said: “My thoughts are with Firefighter Williamson’s family, friends and loved ones during this very difficult time of the year.
“Ewan’s ultimate sacrifice reminds us all of the extraordinary lengths our firefighters go to protect our communities.
“It’s of the utmost importance that our fallen colleagues are recognised and remembered for their courage and dedication to their role.”
Ewan’s family described him as having a “wonderful spirit, a smile that would light up a football field and a witty sense of humour that we miss deeply.
“He was a kind and giving person, always willing to help anyone. He was a loving son and not only a brother, but a best friend to his sisters, Rachel and Rebecca.”
Fire Brigades Union regional treasurer, Seona Hart, said: “Firefighter Ewan Williamson paid the ultimate sacrifice serving the public. We remember Ewan 14 years on from that fateful day on July 12, 2009 and send our love and heartfelt thoughts to Ewan’s mum Linda, sisters Rachel and Rebecca, Ewan’s colleagues and all those that loved him.
“Ewan will never be forgotten and will always be in our thoughts.”