Crash could have been fatal, says expert

Colin Sweeney
Colin Sweeney

A buildings expert reckoned Saturday’s incident in Anstruther, when a fire engine struck a house, could have had fatal consequences, had the building been occupied at the time.

The fire appliance was on its way to an automatic fire alarm call when it collided with the High Street property shortly before 5.30pm.

Colin Sweeney's pictures at the scene of the crashed fire engine embedded in the house in Anstruther.

Colin Sweeney's pictures at the scene of the crashed fire engine embedded in the house in Anstruther.

Four Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crew members from St Monans were treated in hospital as a precaution and then later released.

Glenrothes stonemason Colin Sweeney and his colleagues were among a team of structural engineers and specialist contractors who worked through the night to make the building safe and secure. After a detailed examination of the scene, and structural support measures had been put in place, the fire engine was safely removed, without bringing down the top half of the building.

Colin was back at the scene all day on Sunday to complete the safety and security operations at the property.

No other vehicles were involved and, luckily, the house was empty at the time of the incident.

It had been let to a family who had moved out around four days earlier - but it transpired their favourite seating area inside the house was very near the point of impact, and they had often been in on a Saturday night.

Colin said he was convinced there would have been fatalities had the property been occupied, adding: “Fate played somebody a King’s card.”

Among the prime objectives was securing the structure so that the top section would not come down when the fire engine was extricated, said Colin.

“My main concern was that the fire engine would drag on the building when it was being pulled back by the heavy recovery vechicle, but it was okay,” he added.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland are continuing their investigation into the cause of the crash.