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Emergency services / All accounted for as fire destroys Moorfield Hotel

A clothes donation campaign was set up to help those who have ‘lost all their belongings’

The hotel was engulfed in flames during the night. Photo: John Manson

FIRE fighters from across Shetland are attending a major blaze at the Moorfield Hotel in Brae.

In the early hours of Monday morning Scottish Fire and Rescue Service described the 100-bedroom hotel as “well alight” and confirmed that all people in the hotel were accounted for.

Witnesses said staff and residents were outside the building waiting for buses. There were around 70 people in the hotel when the fire started shortly after midnight.

The scene at the completely destroyed Moorfield Hotel this morning.

Stuart McCaffer of hotel owner BDL (Shetland) Ltd told Shetland News that the company was “shocked that this has happened to the Moorfield”.

 

Appliances from Brae, Hillswick and Scalloway were first on the scene followed by Lerwick and Bixter. Police and ambulance have also been in attendance.

At 8am fire control confirmed that 10 fire appliances were still on scene. Eleven main jets and four breath apparatuses had been used.

The fire service also requested pumping assistance from Sullom Voe Terminal.

Police said shortly after 4am that the B9076 road from the junction at Co-op in Brae to Scatsta Airport had been closed to allow the emergency services to carry out their investigations.

They requested that motorists and members of the public avoid the area in the meantime, while officers asked all residents within the Brae and Northmavine area to keep their windows closed.

Smoke was visible in the sky for a period of time this morning in areas such as Hillswick.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s local senior officer for Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland Iain MacLeod said: “We were alerted at 12.30am on Monday, July 27 to reports of a fire in the Moorfield Hotel, Brae in the Shetland Islands.

“Operations control mobilised nine appliances to the scene, three from Brae and six from other stations across Shetland, where crews found a rapidly developing fire.

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“As part of a pre-planned emergency planning agreement, Sullom Voe Oil Terminal’s industrial fire teams and resources also arrived at the incident to assist firefighters. A number of hotel guests were evacuated and relocated. “There are no reported casualties.

“Crews remain at the scene as they work to extinguish the fire. I would like to thank local residents for their support and cooperation during this disruptive incident.”

Moorfield Hotel was built seven years ago mainly to provide accommodation for staff at the nearby Shetland Gas Plant.

The hotel was due to close at the end of the month after the oil and gas company Total did not renew its contract with the company.

VIDEO: Allan Garrick

Speaking from Glasgow, one of the owners of the hotel, Stuart McCaffer of BDL (Shetland) Ltd, said: “We are shocked that this has happened to the Moorfield. Thankfully all of our guests and staff escaped safely from the building.

“There will be a full investigation to identify the cause but it would appear that the fire safety systems have worked to early identify the outbreak of fire and evacuate the hotel.

“We are grateful to the fire fighters for their response.”

The scene earlier this morning as fire crews tackled the fire at the Moorfield Hotel. The road between Brae and Scatsta remains closed for the foreseeable future.

Posted by BBC Radio Shetland on Monday, 27 July 2020

A spokesperson for Total, which had workers residing in the hotel at the time of the fire, said: “All personnel were safely evacuated and all have been accounted for. There are no reports of injuries.”

North Mainland councillor Emma Macdonald said: “Absolutely awful news but incredibly glad to hear that all staff and residents are safe.

“Events like this really highlight the incredibly important role of all the emergency services. I hope everyone remains safe.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart described the incident as “devastating new”.

“Thankfully all occupants are safe and accounted for,” she said.

“In time, it will be important to find out what happened but for the moment my thoughts are with the Moorfield staff, guests and the hotel’s owners. And I thank the emergency services for their response to this dreadful fire.”

A clothes donation collection, meanwhile, had been organised to help out those staying at the hotel who have lost their possessions.

Cat Duncan said in a Facebook post that live-in staff and workmen had lost all their belongings.

The campaign stopped taking donations just a few hours after being organised after collecting enough items. Total placed an order to buy in clothes for their workers.

A fundraising page has also been set up.

Tesco will also send a van north later today with essential clothing and toiletries.

First light revealed the extent of the devastation while fire fighters were starting to win the battle against the flames. Photos: Georgia Smith/Shetland News
A photo showing the extent of the smoke on Monday morning. Photo: Shetland News

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