Two fires on the islands sees community respond

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Two serious fires have broken on the Isle of Coll and South Uist.

The fire on Coll happened on Friday afternoon with reports it started at an outbuilding near the main village of Arinagour before spreading to a house and taking hold of surrounding grassland.

Sadly, a local couple are reported to have lost their home and possessions in the blaze.

The multi-agency incident was backed by a significant community response to help put out the grassfire with people helping with beating for several hours.

Hotelier Kevin Oliphant was among them and said there had been a good response by volunteer firefighters of which he is a retired member, and the community.

Also helping was the volunteer crew of Tobermory RNLI which launched the Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey to transport firefighters from Mull to Coll.

It said the alert was raised shortly before 2.45pm with four volunteer firefighters and their equipment taken to the island.

Coll Coastguard transported them to the fire to help Coll’s volunteer fire crew.

The lifeboat and firefighters arrived back in Tobermory at around 10.30pm.

Dave Underwood, deputy second coxswain, said: ‘We were happy to assist the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in this multi-agency incident.

‘We would like to express thanks to Calmac staff who were of great help whilst the lifeboat was berthed in Arinagour.’

Also on Friday at South Uist, a grass fire started next to the B888 at Luidaig at around 5.25pm.

It saw the road between Luidaig and Kilbride closed for a number of hours.

The fire is now the subject of a police investigation by Western Isles officers after two homes needed to be evacuated.

The power supply to a number of properties was also switched off as a precaution.

PC Michelle Nelson said: ‘Fortunately no one was injured and although two homes were evacuated they were not damaged as the fire service managed to contain and extinguish the fire.

‘Enquiries into the full circumstances are ongoing and we are appealing for anyone who may have seen activity in the area to get in touch via 101, quoting incident 2622 of Friday, 30 April.’