Bar that claimed Ewan Williamson's life to reopen


The Balmoral Bar after the fire last July

By Cara Sulieman

THE BAR where firefighter Ewan Williamson died tackling a blaze is to be rebuilt and may even house a tribute to the fallen hero.

Plans have been submitted to restore the Balmoral Bar on Dalry Road in Edinburgh almost a year after a fire gutted the building and claimed Ewen’s life.

The owner – Trust Inns – plans to keep the old design and have held discussions about whether or not to place a plaque in memory of 35-year-old Ewan.

He had been with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service for seven years when he died rescuing people from a blaze at the pub on July 12 last year.

Although around 20 people – including a baby – were evacuated from the building, Ewan tragically lost his life – the first Edinburgh based firefighter to die whilst battling a blaze in living memory.

Ewan has already been honoured with a plaque outside Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service headquarters on Lauriston Place in Tollcross.

And a spokesman for Sludden Design, who are involved in rebuilding the bar, said: “I know there were some discussions about putting in some kind of tribute to Ewan Williamson, but I’m not sure how advanced these discussions are.

“The process to reinstate the bar has now just begun.

“It’s still in the same condition it was in following the fire a year ago.

“We have now made the planning application and building control warrant for the reinstatement of the bar, and are awaiting clearance by the council.

“All of the drawings have been submitted and we’re in the process of tendering someone to do the work.”

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said that they would be involved with the bar before it reopens, but only to ensure it is safe to go ahead with the project.

She added: “We will be working with The Balmoral to ensure that the reinstated pub does not contain any fire risks, but not to any greater extent than we would with any other commercial property.”

Fifteen thousand people took to the streets in the pouring rain to pay tribute to Ewan at a ceremony in Edinburgh last year.

Firefighters from every force in the UK lined the streets of the city on July 22 as Ewan’s body was driven through the city, before a special service attended by 650 servicemen and women was held in St Giles’ Cathedral.

A police investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing almost a year later.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: “We can confirm that the procurator fiscal received a report into the death of Ewan Williamson.

“The investigation by Lothian and Borders Police and the HSE, under the direction of the procurator fiscal, is ongoing.

“No decision has been taken regarding proceedings.”