Published: 05/04/2013 10:23 - Updated: 05/04/2013 14:15

Fire-hit Inverness hostel roof to be demolished

Fire-damaged Eastgate Hostel, with China Cottage and the Celtic FC shop below.
Fire-damaged Eastgate Hostel, with China Cottage and the Celtic FC shop below.


THE roof of a historic building in Inverness city centre is set to be demolished after it was damaged by a fire.

A dangerous building notice has been served by Highland Council to the owner of Eastgate Hostel, where 54 people fled a blaze at around 5am on Wednesday.

Additional notices will be sent to the owners of the Chinese Cottage takeaway and the Celtic FC shop, both located below the hostel in the four-storey building.

Demolition must begin before next Friday and must be completed within the next four weeks.

Fire, smoke and heat damage affected the premises. There was also water damage after around 35 firefighters spent several hours bringing the blaze under control.

All 51 tourists staying at the hostel, plus three staff, safely evacuated the building after a fire alarm sounded.

Nobody is being allowed back into the building.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze has been launched by police and the fire brigade.

"The roof would appear to be completely ruined by fire and the remains of roofing timbers, including dormer windows, are at risk of collapsing onto the third floor," a council spokesman said.

"The owner of the building is meeting with his own structural engineer with a view to undertaking the demolition and removal of the roof of the building as soon as possible."

Fencing on the pedestrianised area of Eastgate will remain in place, at least until demolition gets underway.

"Once a contractor is on site the fencing may be able to be reduced in area to limit the visual impact on the street — but this will be subject to public safety risks which we will continually monitor," the council spokesman added.

"We are actively trying to return the street to normality, as much as is possible, but public safety remains the council's primary obligation and it is this that dictates the positioning of the fencing."

> More on how the businesses will be supported and reaction to the fire in today's Courier.

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