Crews battle blaze at derelict building in East Ayrshire

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Firefighters used multiple high pressure jets from ground level and an aerial platform.


Around 40 firefighters worked through the night to extinguish a blaze at a derelict building in East Ayrshire.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews from Newmilns and Kilmarnock were sent to Station Gate in Darvel shortly after 5:10pm on Thursday (20 August) in response to the first of several 999 calls.

First responders arrived to find the derelict building well-alight with the roof partially collapsed and further resources were mobilised from Dreghorn, Mauchline and Strathaven to assist with firefighting operations.

Group Manager Eddie Ritchie, the incident commander, said: “We positioned our crews at strategic points outside the building in order to surround the fire.”

He added: “This was a significant fire that fully involved the building’s first floor and roof. Firefighters were working at both ground level and on an aerial platform, with multiple jets in use to bring the fire under control.”

Dampening down operations continued into the early morning and East Ayrshire Council building control officers attended the scene.

SFRS crews used thermal imaging cameras to search for hidden hot spots before the incident was passed to the control of the police around 6:45am. 

Many of the firefighters involved in the operation serve ‘on-call’ as part of the Retained Duty System (RDS), providing the communities where they live and work with a vital emergency service.

Involving men and women from all walks of life, RDS crews respond to the same types of incident as their whole-time counterparts.

The latest phase of the RDS recruitment campaign is currently open, with community fire stations throughout Scotland looking for applications from people interested in serving as firefighters.

In return for their service RDS firefighters are paid an annual retainer fee plus additional payments for every incident attended and time spent on all activity, including training nights, community engagement and courses.

Applicants must be aged 18 years or over, have a good level of physical fitness, have the required standard of vision and colour perception and live or work within five to eight minutes of the fire station.

You will need to demonstrate that you have the potential to carry out this challenging role through a rigorous recruitment process.

Full details are available online at, where people can find information regarding specific vacancies and download the Recruitment Information Pack.

Applicants are requested to note the key dates for this recruitment process as detailed within the information pack and ensure that they consider their availability to attend on the dates specified, including the initial two-week training course, prior to submitting an application.

Further supplementary information is provided on the SFRS website