Duns firefighter injured in Eyemouth Golf Club blaze

A DUNS firefighter was seriously injured as he tackled a fire at Eyemouth Golf Club last Wednesday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:31 am

The golf club was the scene of high drama when a blaze took hold of a shed and the building's roof collapsed, seriously injuring 44-year-old firefighter David Melrose in the process.

Firefighter Melrose was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by helicopter following the incident having suffered what was thought to be a broken leg.

He was later airlifted to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow for specialist treatment.

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The blaze started at around 5.30am and local firefighters and their colleagues from further afield were called to the club at Gunsgreen Hill.

Seven engines and 35 staff attended in total and as the situation became more and more dangerous, crews wore protective clothing to protect themselves from potential chemical threats, owing to the fact that the shed housed green keeper's equipment, including pesticides.

But unfortunately, whilst he was trying to combat the fire, a part of the roof fell away and landed on Mr Melrose.

Mr Melrose is still in the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where he is being treated for spinal injuries but is in a stable condition.

As the gable end of the fire-damaged building is next to an access road, a cordon was put in place keeping members of the public away until the building was made safe. The golf course and clubhouse were also closed to the public.

NHS Borders said a small amount of white asbestos had been found on the course and as a result a full decontimination was carried out.

The fire gave club officials a mountain to climb just days before the Scottish Girls' Championships were due to get underway.

The public were allowed back into the club on Friday but former club captain Bob Wortley said there was still a lot of work to be done over the weekend to get ready for the big event. He paid tribute to other local clubs and suppliers who'd rallied round to get things back on track.

Bob commented: "To be honest it was touch and go at one point as to whether the Championships would be able to go ahead as the building where the fire took place held a lot of our equipment.

"With fears about a potential chemical threat, the top half of the course was sterilised so it could be cleaned and inspected before the public were allowed in again. We wouldn't have been ready if it wasn't for the invaluable support we've had from our suppliers: Thorn Trees; Thomas Sherriff; Fairways and Nixons who all turned up trumps and rapidly got loan machines to us and helped enormously to keep our plans for the Championship alive.

"All the local golf clubs were fantastic too and offered help in many forms. Special thanks to Goswick, The Hirsel and Magdalene Fields for their help and to all the others for the kind offers.

"And then there's friends, members and green keeping staff from all over.

"Without their help we would have been struggling and a special thanks to our own green keepers (Dougie and PJ) who will probably sleep better once this week is over!"

It's been a testing few months for everyone at Eyemouth Golf Club, as well as last week's fire they've to come to terms with the sudden death of greenkeeper Mark Pagan who had been working hard with the Girls' Championships looming closer.

Bob added: "Mark had been putting a lot of work in to get the course in tip-top condition for the event and members have carried on where he left off to ensure that it hasn't gone to waste."

Speaking to 'The Berwickshire News' on Monday, Bob was happy to report that the first day of the Championships had gone off without a hitch and the greens were looking good.

He said: "The girls arrived today for their practice session and the course shaped up well. They and the representatives from the Scottish Ladies Golf Association seem to be impressed with the greens and they're even happier now the wind has dropped!"

The first four rounds of competition will draw to a close tomorrow, Friday, July 16, with the 18 hole final getting underway at 9am on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said investigations are still ongoing into the cause of the fire.

David's wife Claire and children Leigh and Mason would like to thank the Duns community for all their support and kind wishes.