Kilmonivaig fire collapses roof of derelict church

KILMONIVAIG FREE CHURCH Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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In the early hours of last Wednesday morning (December 11), fire crews were called to a derelict church just outside Spean Bridge.

Firefighters tackled the well-developed blaze for more than six hours at the Kilmonivaig Free Church building that has been lying empty for almost 17 years.

Constructed in 1860, the congregation  dwindled to the point of the building being put up for sale in 2003. There has been interest to use the land for other purposes, but it has never been bought.

Jon Fotheringham is treasurer of the nearby Kilmonivaig Parish Church, one of the three remaining churches in the area. He said: ‘The church fell into disrepair a number of years ago and when I have passed it before nothing has been done to improve the quality of the building.

‘Recently I saw that someone had horses grazing around the land, but there is generally very little activity. There have been plans previously to construct homes on the site, but nothing has come to fruition.’

The church lost its roof but was already in a poor state from years of neglect. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘We were alerted at 6.07am on Wednesday December 11 to reports of a fire within a derelict church building in Kilmonivaig.

‘Operations control mobilised three appliances to the scene and firefighters extinguished the fire. Crews left after ensuring the area was made safe.’

Police were also called to the scene and a cordon was placed around the area as the fire crews worked to control the fire.

A spokesperson for the police said: ‘Police were called around 6am on to a report of a fire at a derelict church outside Spean Bridge. Officers attended and are assisting SFRS as required.’

Investigations into how the fire started are still ongoing and nothing can yet be pointed to as the cause.