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Hebrides News


The role of volunteer fire-fighters in island communities has been highlighted following two fatal deaths in Uist.


South Uist native, Morag Ann Macdonald died in her smoke filled home in Garrynamoine earlier this month.


A week later, an elderly man who had come to live with his son and daughter-in-law in South Uist perished in a blaze at their residence in Kildonan.


Councillor Donnie Steele said it was a “difficult, tough, trying time” for the volunteer firefighters in Uist.

Mr Steele said: “February will be remembered for two house fires that resulted in tragic deaths in South Uist.


Role of community fire-fighters praised

27 February 2017

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and relatives of the deceased.


“The Uist community will rally round, help and comfort when it is most needed, it’s in their nature. I’m sure there will be community events around Uist to help those immediately affected.”


He added: “Whilst we remember those lost in these tragic circumstances, we also should acknowledge the work involved in being a firefighter, not just in Uist but throughout the Western Isles.


“The training involved in order to prepare for the worst case scenarios and the alertness involved to help protect our community is often overlooked.”


Retained firefighters are doing a “fantastic job” and should be very proud of themselves, he stressed.


“They don't often get the recognition or our thanks for what they do.


“The same could be said for all our emergency services, who connect and work together to protect our communities.”


He hopes the fire service hierarchy, council, employers and Scottish Government will support the volunteers “financially, mentally and to have the right training and equipment to look after our communities and our most vulnerable residents.”


“It is a tough job being a firefighter and we should not forget that,” he stated.