The listed St Clement’s Hall in Lerwick has been left badly damaged by a fire that resulted in severe damage to the ground floor.
Firefighters were called to the hall at 7.46pm on Monday and the fire took more than an hour to extinguish. The two-storey building, in St Olaf Street, is believed to have been unoccupied and no-one was injured.
Two fire crews from Lerwick and one from Scalloway used six sets of breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets and one main jet to put out the blaze. The fire was out by 9.15pm but severe damage had been caused to the rear part of the building. The fire was located on the ground floor of the property and firefighters had to contend with severe smoke logging. Crews were back at base by 10.30pm.
A joint fire service and Police Scotland investigation into the cause of the fire will take place.
St Clement’s Hall, which is in a conservation area, was recently bought from the council by local businessman Malcolm Younger, the sale being fully completed in the spring. In the spring Mr Younger told The Shetland Times his intention was to create offices and a photography studio.
The building is more than 100 years old and was used as the hall for Lerwick Parish Church for many years.
Built in the late 1800s, the hall was sold to Lerwick Town Council in 1966. It was used for recreational purposes and storage and then as a sale room by Chris Hodge in the 1990s and became a listed building in 1996.
The substantial stone structure has lacked routine repair and maintenance and was judged to be “at risk” following an inspection back in 2008.
A further inspection by SSD Group at the start of this year found that St Clement’s was gradually falling into a state of disrepair. Water had been leaking through the roof of the main hall and some floor coverings beneath have decayed.