A fire erupted in the server room of a building that houses several shops on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on Tuesday morning, forcing the closure of the street and the evacuation of the premises.
Smoke seen from the windows
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) received a call at 9.45am reporting a fire in the basement of a building on the High Street, near the junction with North Bridge. The fire was located in the server room of the building, which hosts a number of shops, including a souvenir shop, a whisky shop and a cafe.
The fire crews arrived at the scene and found smoke coming out from the windows of the building. They used breathing apparatus, hose reels and a fan to tackle the blaze and ventilate the area. No one was injured in the incident, but the staff and customers of the shops had to be evacuated as a precaution.
Road closed for several hours
The police closed the High Street between North Bridge and St Mary’s Street while the fire was being dealt with. The closure caused traffic disruption and affected some bus services in the city centre. The road was reopened at around 1pm, after the fire was extinguished and the area was made safe.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but it is believed to have started accidentally in the server room. A spokesperson for the SFRS said: “We were alerted at 9.45am on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, to reports of a fire within the basement of a commercial building on High Street, Edinburgh. Operations Control mobilised four appliances and an aerial unit to the scene, where firefighters extinguished the fire. There were no reported casualties. Crews left after ensuring the area was made safe.”
Impact on local businesses
The fire has affected the operations of several shops on the Royal Mile, which is a popular tourist destination in Edinburgh. The owners and managers of the shops expressed their frustration and concern over the loss of business and the damage to their premises.
One of the shop owners, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s a nightmare, especially at this time of year when we are expecting a lot of customers. We don’t know how long it will take to fix the server room and get everything back to normal. We are losing money every minute we are closed.”
Another shop manager, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are lucky that no one was hurt, but we are very worried about the impact of the fire on our business. We have a lot of stock and equipment in the basement, and we don’t know how much of it has been damaged by the fire and the smoke. We hope that our insurance will cover the losses, but we are still waiting for the assessment.”