Highlands & Islands

Elderly residents rescued from Inverness care home fire

Dozen of elderly people have spent the night in temporary accommodation after fire destroyed a nursing home in the Inverness area.

The 59 residents of Culloden Court and 12 members of staff all got out safely.

The blaze started in the two-storey care home in Smithton at about 1800 BST on Monday, spreading quickly to the building's roof.

Almost 40 firefighters tackled the intense fire, which is now under investigation.

Nearby neighbours were advised to keep their doors and windows shut because of thick smoke coming from the burning building.

The home's elderly residents were evacuated from the building soon after the blaze broke out.

They were taken to an emergency reception centre set up at Smithton Primary and were later taken on to temporary accommodation in other local care homes.

Highland Council said members of the public arrived at the scene with blankets and helped to escort residents to the school.

A local branch of Tesco donated pyjamas and chemist staff from a Boots store made medication available, the local authority said.

'Pulled together'

With the help of a fleet of ambulances and mini buses, all residents were moved from the school just after 2300 BST to other care homes.

Margaret Davidson, chairman of Highland Council's housing and social work committee, said there was relief that no-one was hurt.

She said: "Social work and the emergency services all pulled together with the care home staff, school and local people to ensure that people were looked after, and found alternative accommodation. It was a remarkable exercise."

Social work director Bill Alexander said tribute had to be paid to many people.

He added: "All of the agencies worked together, and residents and professionals from all over the area came together to help out.

"Over the next few days we will work with the residents and their families to help make sure that permanent arrangements are made for their ongoing care."

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