A former fire fighter says traffic problems at an Argyll housing estate could have turned a recent blaze into a “nightmare” if it had been one flat further into the scheme.
The second floor home at 6 Colonsay Terrace on the Soroba estate in Oban was gutted and resident Tomasz Kapusta was treated for minor smoke inhalation at the scene.
His family lost everything in the fire.
But now, community councillor and ex-fire fighter George Berry said if the inferno has happened just one block along – where he lives – the fire service would not have been able to get their aerial platform close enough.
Mr Berry, who lives at 7 Colonsay Terrace, said: “I can’t praise the fire service enough for getting there as quickly as they did because if they didn’t it could have been much more serious. The first fire engine pulled up. It was followed rapidly in by the police car. The second fire pump came in next and that took up all of the car park.
“They also had an aerial platform fire truck attend. Thankfully it wasn’t required because it was stuck outside Colonsay Terrace and could not get in. It was followed by the ambulance. The ambulance was stuck behind the aerial platform.
“Because of the cars on either side only the middle of the car park is available.
“Every flat up to number five they can get access to. They could just about get into number six if they had to but I don’t think they could get the platform into number seven. It could have been a nightmare.”
He added: “There is a green wasteland and a kids playpark area.
“What I propose moving the playpark along and extending the car park with a strict no parking area specifically for the emergency services.
“That would mean in future all of the emergency services would be able to get right in. I feel that has got to be done.”
Oban Councillor Jim Lynch said he had asked Mr Berry to give a presentation to local councillors and Acha (Argyll Community Housing Association).
A spokesman for the fire service said they had nothing to add to the statement issued following the incident, which said a man received oxygen therapy from the ambulance service. Eight properties were evacuated.
Alastair MacGregor, chief executive of Acha, said the fire service were able to access the fire timeously. He added: “I understand that they have modern, flexible equipment like aerial platforms to deal with fires in tenement housing with high density.”