Sandwick Community Council has set up an appeal to help two elderly brothers whose house was gutted by fire last Friday.
Geordie and Jeemie Halcrow from Noness, a retired fisherman and retired fish filleter, managed to escape from the blaze which took hold at around 1.30 pm, but were taken to hospital overcome by smoke inhalation. Their house was destroyed, together with the contents, and the community is rallying round in support.
At a meeting on Wednesday evening the community council pledged to help the brothers set up home again. The Carnegie Hall in Sandwick will be open from 11am till 4pm tomorrow for donations of household goods and other useful items. As one local put it: “There’s a lot of wish to do something to help.”
Collecting cans have been placed in South Mainland and Scalloway shops. Anyone wishing to donate by cheque is being asked to make the cheque out to Sandwick Community Council and mark it “Noness Appeal” on the back. Postal donations can be sent to clerk Rosemary Inkster at Wainui, Hoswick, Sandwick, ZE2 9HL.
Mrs Inkster said the community council represented the wishes of the local people and would be helping the well-respected brothers in “very difficult circumstances”. The brothers, who have lived in the area all their lives, will have to set up home from scratch, she said, and people were only too willing to do what they could to help.
Mrs Inkster said: “People felt that as neither of the brothers enjoy good health, setting up home from absolutely nothing with all the effort, time and energy involved would be quite a thought. We felt it was something they needed some support with.”
Fire engines from Bixter, Sandwick and Lerwick attended the scene at about 2pm last Friday, along with an ambulance and police. Firefighters used two jets, one hosereel jet and four sets of breathing apparatus to tackle the fire.
A passer-by said the fire was dampened down by around 4pm but the stone-built two-storey house was obviously extensively damaged, with internal walls and roof destroyed. He described it as looking like “a bulldozer job”.
The condition of the brothers was described later that day as stable. It is understood that Jeemie, 68, is still in hospital and reportedly “absolutely fine”, according to a hospital spokeswoman, although Geordie, 71, has been released.