Nostalgia: Fife Ice Arena destroyed by fire in 2007

Fire fighters survey the damage
Fire fighters survey the damage

On Monday, February 26, 2007, Fife Ice Arena in Kirkcaldy was devastated by a huge fire.

Starting in a corner of the ground floor of the two-storey building, the blaze grew next to the curlers’ lounge and rose through the seating area at Section F and into the roof space.

The scene at the Ice Arena after the fire

The scene at the Ice Arena after the fire

At the height of the blaze, 36 firefighters and seven appliances, including an aerial platform, rushed from all over Fife to fight the inferno.

Flames could be seen shooting out of the roof with a pall of smoke covering most of the Gallatown area.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to pinpoint hotspots and a detailed plan of the rink was called up on one of the fire appliance’s data systems to show where the main hazard areas were.

Police closed off streets surrounding the rink, including Pottery Street, in case there was an explosion, and officers were on standby to evacuate surrounding houses if necessary.

One firefighter was slightly injured when he was hit by falling roof timbers but his helmet protected him and he did not require hospital treatment.

It took four hours for the crews to finally put out the flames and on the Tuesday afternoon fire service investigators started their detailed examination amid the scene of devastation at the rink.

They concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire, confirming that it was an electrical fault which is said to have caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the south facing end of the building.

Station manager David Latto, who was part of the fire service’s investigation team, said: “The cause of the fire has been attributed to an electrical fault within the rink.

“The investigation was concluded on Tuesday afternoon and there is nothing to suggest that it was started maliciously.”

Of immediate concern was the Fife Flyers’ fixture list, which was thrown into uncertainty.

Todd Dutiaume, then player-coach, said he had been amazed by the strength of feeling and the show of support expressed by the people in the town.

“From the perspective of the team, the feeling has been one of disbelief, and I think that has been shared by many people,” he said.

”It is very upsetting because all the players, bar two or three have grown up in Kirkcaldy and around the Gallatown and, in some cases, have been coming to the rink for over 30 years.

”We are all waiting to find out what the extent of the damage is and what the future will be.

”There is concern right through the team and we are having a meeting to discuss the situation and how we will fulfil our season’s fixtures.”

A week after the fire the club released a statement saying that all of the Flyers’ fixtures in the interim would be switched to be played away from home, but they were hopeful that a few games at the end of the season could be played in Kirkcaldy.

It said: “Although the refrigeration plant is undamaged and the ice is still down, it will definitely not be possible to open even the main part of the building, which is relatively undamaged, before the end of March when the curling season ends.

“It may be possible, at some stage after completion of the preliminary works, to screen off the area mainly affected by the fire, to allow Fife Flyers to play at Kirkcaldy.”

However, it transpired that the renovation work, which included a new lounge, and the installation of plexi-glass, was too big a job and the Flyers wouldn’t play at home again until the start of the 2007/08 season.