AN EMPTY bungalow in Tingwall belonging to a woman who recently died was destroyed by a blaze in the early hours of Friday morning.
Around 20 fire fighters from Lerwick, Scalloway and Bixter tackled what they decribed as “an intense house fire” after being called out at 3.20am to the cottage called Tingview at the foot of the Griesta road in the Tingwall valley.
The bungalow belonged to Phyllis Burns, an elderly woman whose funeral took place just last week.
Unaware the building was unoccupied, eight fire fighters with breathing apparatus and carrying four main water jets entered the building to search for its occupant.
The fire service said the fire was extinguished by 5.30am, but two crew stayed behind to damp down the embers.
Local police closed the road to through traffic. No one was injured in the fire.
Local station manager Myles Murray, the incident commander, said: “This was a significant fire that resulted in severe damage including the collapse of the building’s roof.
“Due to the extent of the damage our crews have as yet been unable to access every part of the structure, which is obviously required to confirm no-one was present.
“Internal and external firefighting operations brought the flames under control by 5:30am but dampening down work has continued throughout the morning.”
Fire officers are investigating the cause of the incident, but Murray said were practical steps everyone could take to reduce the chance of a fire happening in their home.
The key advice is never to overload electrical sockets, place candles near items that could easily catch fire, or walk away from a cooker without first taking pots and pans off the heat and switching the dials to off.
Where fires do start they can very quickly spread toxic smoke throughout a home, so it’s vital every property is protected by working smoke alarms, he said.
“Our crews regularly provide free home fire safety visits to help householders stay safe, so I would urge anyone who thinks they could benefit to get in touch with us.
“We also want people to consider the safety of their friends, family members and neighbours.
“If you know someone who could be at increased risk then put them in contact with the fire service so we can provide support – it really could prevent a tragedy.”
Visits can be arranged by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999 or by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800, which is also free of charge.
Alternatively, people can arrange a visit via the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website www.firescotland.gov.uk