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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Fire crews tackle kilt shop blaze
Fire at Romanes and Patersons [Pic: Gillian Steel]
The fire sent smoke billowing over the city [Pic: Gillian Steel]

Part of one of Scotland's busiest streets was closed after a serious fire in a kilt shop.

The fire was reported at kilt and tartan specialists Romanes and Paterson's in Princes Street, Edinburgh, shortly before 0700 BST.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said it sent five pumps and three appliances to the scene.

No-one was hurt in the blaze, which broke out on the third floor of the five-storey shop.

Princes Street was closed between Frederick Street and South St David Street until the fire was eventually extinguished at about midday.

The third and fourth floors of the building were badly damaged.

Shop worker Liam Brown, 42, was first to discover the blaze as he prepared to open the shop early on Friday morning.

When I opened the staff room door the smoke engulfed me so I slammed it shut and ran down to the street
Liam Brown
Shop worker

He said: "When I arrived as normal to the shop at 6.55am, there was no visual evidence of anything being wrong.

"As I was making my way up to the staff room on the fourth floor I began to smell what I thought was smoke.

"When I opened the staff room door the smoke engulfed me so I slammed it shut and ran down to the street where I called the fire brigade."

Firefighters wearing masks and carrying specialised equipment arrived on the scene minutes later and entered the burning building.

A solitary firefighter was sent 100ft up an engine ladder to spray water directly onto the blaze.

John Dickie, Lothian and Borders fire group manager, confirmed that the blaze started in the third floor Walter Scott tearoom before spreading to the top floor where the staff room is situated.

Investigation team

He said: "No-one was injured during the blaze and we believe there to be no significant structural damage.

"However, there is severe damage to the shop caused by small pockets of fire."

The east end of Princes Street remained partially closed on Friday afternoon while fire crews carried out a salvage operation.

Romanes and Paterson have used the premises since 1878 and are known for selling traditional Scottish clothing, including kilts and accessories, knitwear and cashmere, as well as souvenirs, whisky and shortbread.

Some of the stock, which was kept on the first three floors of the premises and was therefore unaffected, was removed or covered by firefighters after a request from the staff.

A fire investigation team was at the scene and was attempting to discover the cause of the blaze.

The fire was captured on film by a BBC Scotland camera crew.

It was also filmed and photographed by dozens of people who e-mailed their pictures to the BBC Scotland news website.

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