The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service commemorates the life of Firefighter Ewan Williamson

A Commemoration Service has been held at the James Braidwood statue on Parliament Square in Edinburgh to pay tribute to fallen Firefighter Ewan Williamson who lost his life in 2009.

A minute’s silence was observed, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony involving members of Ewan's family alongside the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Chief Officer Ross Haggart.

SFRS colleagues, representatives from the public sector and charity organisations from across the city were also in attendance at the event held today (Wednesday, 12 July) to remember the tragic circumstances at the Balmoral Bar.

At 00:38am, on 12 July 2009, Firefighter Williamson was a member of the first attending crews at a fire in the basement of the Balmoral Bar on Dalry Road in Edinburgh.

As the devastating fire spread, Ewan and his colleagues were deployed to tackle the fire in the basement and ground floor levels. This enabled other SFRS personnel to carry out multiple rescues of occupants f

om domestic flats in the three floors above, whose lives were endangered by the smoke and flames.

Firefighter Williamson, 35, who was a member of the Green Watch at Tollcross Fire Station, entered the building wearing breathing apparatus as part of the efforts to extinguish the fire. Tragically, he became trapped during firefighting operations and lost his life in the line of duty.

A total of 16 people, including a baby, were rescued that night, an outcome that could have been very different had it not been for the bravery of Ewan and his colleagues responding to the incident.

CO Haggart said: "My thoughts are with Firefighter Williamson’s family, friends and loved ones during this very difficult time of the year.

"Ewan's ultimate sacrifice reminds us all of the extraordinary lengths our firefighters go to protect our communities.

"It's of the utmost importance that our fallen colleagues are recognised and remembered for their courage and dedication to their role.”

Ewan’s family described him as having a “wonderful spirit, a smile that would light up a football field and a witty sense of humour that we miss deeply.

“He was a kind and giving person, always willing to help anyone. He was a loving son and not only a brother, but a best friend to his sisters, Rachel and Rebecca.”

Fire Brigades Union Regional Treasurer, Seona Hart, said: “Firefighter Ewan Williamson paid the ultimate sacrifice serving the public. We remember Ewan 14 years on from that fateful day on the 12th of July, 2009 and send our love and heartfelt thoughts to Ewan’s mum Linda, sisters Rachel and Rebecca, Ewan’s colleagues and all those that loved him.

“Ewan will never be forgotten and will always be in our thoughts.”