Ewan E Williamson lost his life in the line of duty on the 12th of July 2009. His Red Plaque was presented on the anniversary of his death, the 12th of July 2018.
A firefighter on the Green Watch at Tollcross Fire Station, Ewan died while tackling a fire in the former Balmoral Bar on Edinburgh’s Dalry Road. At the time of his death, Ewan was thirty-five and living with his girlfriend.
Ewan was among the first of around seventy firefighters to respond to a severe fire which was sending black smoke into the street and had started in the basement of the Balmoral Bar, leading to seventeen people being evacuated from surrounding homes. While attempting to leave the bar, Ewan was separated from his partner due to visibility and became trapped when a floor collapsed. He was unable to get out and activated his distress signal unit but no-one could hear it in the building. His colleagues desperately tried to find Ewan in the smoke-filled building, showing great selflessness and bravery. The firefighters managed to get to a door but could not open it as the floor began to give way beneath their feet and they were forced to move.
The first firefighter killed on duty in the region since the early 1990s, Ewan’s death deeply affected the service. Following an enquiry, improvements were made to communications and other procedures across Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service.
Ewan is fondly remembered by his family, friends and colleagues, as well as his brothers and sisters in the service and the FBU. His memorial can be found on Dalry Road outside the former Balmoral Bar where he lost his life, now known as Benson’s Bar.
Denise Christie, of the FBU in Edinburgh, said:
“Ewan was a brilliant firefighter, a great friend to all at Tollcross Green Watch and throughout the fire service and beyond. He will never be forgotten and will always be in our thoughts.”
Below are memories added by those who knew Ewan Williamson or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for Ewan Williamson that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
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Photo credits: Douglas Robertson