By David O'Leary
The Evening News
NORTH BERWICH, Scotland — Fire chiefs are seeking an alternative base in North Berwick after a blaze gutted the town's station.
More than 40 firefighters raced to tackle an early morning fire at the Station Road facility yesterday.
The roof of the building later collapsed, leaving the town without any long-term base in the immediate area. The nearest station is East Linton, six miles away, while Haddington is more than nine miles out of town.
Bosses are now scrambling to locate a new hub of operations for the service which deals with about 150 calls a year.
The station currently boasts 13 retained firefighters who react to calls when paged.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "The main thing now is to identify an alternative location.
"Cover will be provided by a wholetime appliance from McDonald Road over the next two days while we establish this new base. There has not been and neither will there be any loss of service."
Heavy smoke was first spotted billowing from the building shortly after 5am and retained crews rushed to the scene but were unable to safely gain access.
Two appliances from within the station were removed but suffered damage during the incident. They have since been transferred for inspection to the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service workshop in Newbridge.
No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
North Berwick community councillor Malcolm Baker said: "I woke up around 7.30 a.m. and looked out the window and saw an ambulance. When I went outside there was smoke everywhere and the road was closed.
"We hold our meetings at the station so we'll now have to look elsewhere, maybe the council chambers or one of the church rooms.
"What is really important, though, is that the fire brigade find a new base in the town as they provide a much-needed service. North Berwick has quite a sizeable elderly population so a fire service needs to be retained."
Fire investigators are still poring over the embers in an attempt to find a cause for the blaze.
The spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service added: "When retained crews first arrived at the scene the station was well alight and they were unable to safely access the building, immediately requesting more resources to the scene.
"Our business continuity plans have been activated to ensure that there is adequate cover in the immediate area.
"Crews did a fantastic job in getting to the scene and removing the appliances from within whilst also launching a full-scale firefighting operation."
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