A MORAY HOME that was only weeks ago identified as a candidate for new laws that would allow Moray Council to take control of long-term empty buildings has been destroyed.
Fire broke out at ‘Brae Lossie’, a sizable property with outstanding views from Prospect Terrace looking out over the town’s picturesque east beach, at around 7pm last night.
Neighbours reported the blaze that spread very quickly – despite that firefighters bravely entered the building with breathing apparatus to fight the flames. However, they were ultimately forced back as gale-force winds fanned the fire and flames leapt through the loft space.
Standing watching the blaze was a sad local councillor John Cowe, who had campaigned for years to establish who owned the property with a view to one day seeing it restored to its former glory.
Councillor Cowe said: “It is very, very sad to see such a wonderful building end in a manner such as this, this home has been admired by local people and visitors along one of the most beautiful places to live in our town. It is such a sad waste, and it is also ironic that this should happen just weeks after the Council agreed a new strategy for dealing with buildings of this nature.”
The Heldon & Laich councillor refused to speculate over the cause of the blaze other than to say: “I was told by a neighbour that it caught and spread very quickly.”
Two weeks ago Councillor Cowe reported to the planning and regulatory services committee at Moray Council that Brae Lossie was causing issues for neighbours, saying that one had to lock herself in her bedroom because she was afraid of the antisocial behaviour that went on in the derelict building.
He said: “Now I suspect that the only thing that can be done is to clear the site – we had already tried to contact the owner who is believed to live in the United States, but so far had failed in our efforts.”
Five fire appliances attended the scene along with a height vehicle while police and ambulance services were also present, although there was not thought to have been anyone in the building and no injuries were reported.
As the blaze took hold firefighters were called from Elgin, Fochabers, Rothes, Forres and Aberdeen. The senior commander at the scene said: “Crews attended tonight to tackle a significant fire which had developed on the first floor of the building.
“Crews attacked the fire using breathing apparatus and lines of hose – but the fire spread rapidly into the roof space, so crews withdrew as there was a potential structural collapse of the property.”