Jenners refurb awaits outcome of fire investigation

An initial investigation into the fire at the Jenners building in Edinburgh city centre Monday (23 January) suggests the damage is localised.

The building is thought to be intact overall so the refurbishment that was underway can proceed following the fire investigation.

Images circulating on social media showed plumes of thick black smoke. Eye witnesses reported being advised to stay indoors.

Later, pictures in the local media revealed devastating damage to some of the outer rooms of the building.

At its height the fire was attended by 100 fire fighters and 22 appliances.

Four firefighters were injured and later discharged from hospital. A further firefighter, Barry Martin, remained in hospital in a critical condition but tragically died on Friday (27 February).

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Fire Brigades Union, and Edinburgh City Council issued statements sending sympathy and condolences to Martin’s family, friends and colleagues.

Council leader Cammy Day, said: “It’s at these tragic times that we’re reminded of the immense bravery and selflessness of our firefighters and emergency service workers – putting their lives on the line day in, day out to keep us safe.”

Owner of the building and director of AAA United, Danish billionaire Anders Krogh, said in a statement earlier in the week: “We were devastated to find out about the fire in the Jenners building shortly after it broke out.

“Our thoughts and appreciation are with the rescue team. Thanks in no small part to great work by workers on site and resolute action from the local fire department.

“The first investigations show very localised damage, only in the lower north side of the building. The overall building is intact, but we still await further investigations over the following days will reveal the total extent of the damage.”

Preserving a unique historic building

He added: “This is a temporary setback for the refurbishment of the Jenners building. Our plan is first and foremost to help preserve a unique historic building in Edinburgh.

“Hopefully, we will soon be able to reengage on our ambition to bring the Jenners building back to its original glory. But right now our thoughts are only for the wellbeing of everyone involved.”

The Jenners building was designed by architect William Hamilton Beattie who was inspired by European designs such as Bon Marche. It opened in 1895 and an extension was added to the north side in 1903.

Previous tenant was the Frasers Group department store. It moved out in 2021 and the building has been vacant since.

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