Funeral for firefighter who died after department store blaze to be held

Barry Martin, 38, from Fife, was critically injured when battling flames at the department store.

Funeral for firefighter Barry Martin who died after histotic Jenners department store blaze to be held in Edinburgh SFRS

The funeral for a firefighter who died after tackling a blaze at a historic former department store building will take place in Edinburgh next week as the council work with the fire service on a memorial.

Barry Martin, 38, from Fife, was critically injured when battling flames at the former Jenners store on January 23. He died four days later.

His death made him the first Scottish firefighter to die in the line of duty since Ewan Williamson, who died after being injured in Edinburgh in 2009.

A funeral will be held for Mr Martin at St Giles’ Cathedral on Friday, February 17.

Members of the fire service community from across Scotland will join his family and friends to pay tribute.

The funeral cortege will make its way from the base of the Royal Mile, arriving at the cathedral at 12.30pm when the service, by invitation, will begin, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said.

There will be a private committal thereafter.

MSPs have previously called for Mr Martin to be posthumously awarded the George Cross, an accolade which dates back to 1940 and recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out by civilians.

Edinburgh Council will work with the fire service to create a memorial to him, it was announced.

Speaking at the City Chambers this week, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost paid tribute to Mr Martin.

Councillors agreed to collaborate with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to “identify an appropriate form of joint recognition” to honour his life and service.

The full council meeting on Thursday kicked off with a minutes silence for the late hero.

Lord Provost Robert Aldridge said the many tributes which have been left outside Jenners “show how deeply his passing has been felt, both by people throughout the city and by his firefighter colleagues in Edinburgh and right across the country”.

The Provost continued: “The tributes were sombre and respectful and reflect the quiet admiration and gratitude we all feel for our firefighters who put their health and lives on the line to protect us day after day.

“Thankfully it’s a very rare occurrence indeed for any firefighter these days to lose their life in the course of their duty. That makes the loss of Barry Martin all the more keenly felt by all of us in Edinburgh and I’m sure also by his fellow firefighters.

“I know that his family will be hurting terribly at the loss of a husband and father. But I hope that in time they will gain some comfort from knowing the full extent of the admiration and respect, indeed the pride, this city feels for having had the privilege of being served so well by Barry Martin.

“Firefighter Barry Martin we salute you and thank you for giving your all in service for the people of Edinburgh.”

On news of Mr Martin’s death, tributes poured in from across the political spectrum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her deepest condolences went to his family, friends and colleagues.

At the time, she said: “This is a terrible tragedy for all who loved him – but also a reminder of the selfless courage our firefighters demonstrate in the line of duty each and every day.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, said Mr Martin’s actions “went above and beyond the call of duty”.

“They deserve the highest standard of civilian praise and recognition,” he said.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “Barry and his fellow firefighters bravely risked their lives to protect the people of Edinburgh and save this iconic building”.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said Mr Martin’s “bravery will not be forgotten”.

And Maggie Chapman, of the Scottish Greens, said: “The bravery and professionalism of the fire service and other first responders in keeping us safe by putting themselves in harm’s way is a debt we can never repay.”

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