Courageous firefighters have been hailed for their “huge commitment to their local communities” after an eight-hour battle with a major blaze that destroyed a family home.
Fire crews were called to the incident at Invergarry Park in St Cyrus just before 8.30pm on Saturday and spent eight hours getting the situation under control.
The roof of the house caved in, and neighbouring properties were left damaged by the flames.
One woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The community of St Cyrus has since rallied to support those affected.
Residents offered places to stay, advice on the best ways to get the smell of smoke out of clothing, and came forward with offers to wash clothes.
Martin Tait, local senior officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray for the Scottish Fire and Rescue service, yesterday paid a special tribute to the retained crews who helped get the situation under control.
He said: “Operations Control initially mobilised two appliances to the scene of this fire, but quickly made the decision to mobilise a third appliance due to the amount of repeat calls received – before mobilising a fourth on request from the first attending appliance, due to the severity of the fire.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of those control room staff as well as our retained and whole-time crews involved involved in this incident.
“Our retained firefighters make a huge commitment to their local communities, and often balance their emergency work with primary employment or family life.
“In St Cyrus and right across Scotland, retained crews respond to a pager when at home or at work and are there for their friends, families and neighbours in times of need.”
Last night, Mearns councillor George Carr said the incident showed how vital smaller fire stations like the ones in Inverbervie and in Laurencekirk are.
Mr Carr said: “At all my community councils that I attend in the Mearns, they constantly support and recognise the importance of our two retained stations in the Mearns.
“Retained staff actually live and work in the communities that they serve, so they know where the farms are and where all the smaller streets are in all the villages.
“If you don’t stay in the Mearns, you could sometimes pause to think exactly where somewhere is, and end up going in completely the opposite direction.
“I believe local knowledge is the best thing to fall back on, and every second really does count when it comes to emergencies.”
The Aberdeen fire service control room was shut in 2016, prompting concerns about loss of local knowledge.
Certain members of its staff moved the new North Operations Control facility in Dundee.
Police are not treating the fire as suspicious.