Praise for fire fighters

NORTH isles councillor Duncan Simpson has praised local fire fighters who rushed to the scene of a house fire in Whalsay on Wednesday afternoon.

Enquiries are ongoing into was caused the fire that badly damaged the Old Schoolhouse at Brough.

No-one was injured and all three people in the house were accounted for. They are now being looked after by friends and family on the island.


Appliances from Symbister, Brae, Hillswick and Lerwick were in attendance.

The fire engine from Brae was lucky enough to just catch the ferry from Laxo, while the other ferry was diverted to get the Hillswick and Lerwick appliances across to the island.

The fire was declared out at 7.10pm on Wednesday, three and half hours after emergency services were alerted.

“A big thank you to the fire brigades that attended. It could have been much worse had they not attended so quickly,” Simpson said.


“A big thank you as well to the community that gave their complete and utter support.”

Simpson referred to the difficulties the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has in recruiting retained fire fighters not just in Shetland but across the country.

He said in his opinion some of the entry requirements were “too stringent” and needed to be relaxed in order to allow more people to join.

“I know people here in Whalsay, who have applied, they’re fit young people who play in the football team. There were four of them who have applied and only one of them got in,” Simpson said.

“I think the rules are probably designed for towns and cities, and don’t take the rural nature of the place into account.

“It is maybe something that could be looked at, because it will be a real problem if we can’t get enough fire fighters.”