Following on from the fire at Inverness Leisure at the weekend which resulted in a full building evacuation, James Martin, General Manager at the Bught Lane facilities commented, “Both myself and the Head of Operations have met with an assessor from our insurers today and are pleased to inform our customers that we have started to progress towards getting the pool facilities open again.
“Taking cognisance of the damage in the actual area of the fire in the plant room and the secondary damage caused by smoke around the pool hall areas, our insurer has taken a decision to appoint a Project Manager to coordinate the works that will be involved in bringing the pool areas of Inverness Leisure back online.
Speaking on the works approved to commence immediately, the General Manager continued, “In addition to the Project Manager, we are hopeful that we will have a specialist cleaning company in to start the clear-up of the areas around the pool and changing areas that have been affected by smoke within the next few days.
“And in the interest of safety and hygiene we have also taken a decision to immediately commence the process of emptying the water from the Leisure Pool – something that will take around 3 – 4 days. Whilst it is clear we cannot keep the water anyway, it also has the benefit of making the high level cleaning easier for the commercial cleaning company once they start their high level work.
“We have now been able to start the circulation of the 25 metre competition pool and have been protecting the pool water since the incident with our pool cover. And we are hopeful that once the cleaning work takes place; and providing that no other problems are identified in the interim we will be able to get the competition pool re-opened within the next few weeks. However, it certainly looks unlikely that this part of the pool will be available to the public before the start of October.
“Whilst we cannot comment in any detail until a specialist review and assessment has been undertaken as to the damage caused to the Leisure Water plant affected by the fire, I can confirm that it now looks likely to be a number of weeks before the leisure pool will re-open. However, I cannot be more specific as to exactly when until we have received the specialist report, which will probably at some point later this week.
Some of the members of the team involved in the evacuation met with Ella MacRae, the Company Vice-Chairperson today and were congratulated for the work they had done. She said, “Through the quick thinking of the team we were able to evacuate hundreds of our customers in a cool, calm and collected manner. I would join with the many positive comments we have received from our customers and on behalf of the Board, offer a huge well done to the whole team involved in the incident on Saturday. They should be very proud of their efforts.
Responding to comments regarding the use of the marquee which was on the athletics field for the First Monster Event on Saturday, James Martin commented, “I can confirm that our evacuation procedure was implemented properly and that people were initially taken to the close-by Floral Hall adjacent to our car park.
“An operational decision was taken to move our customer to the marquee when the offer was made to us by First Group. In a situation like this our customers’ safety is paramount followed by making them as secure and comfortable as possible. I believe these were the key objectives of the team on duty on Saturday.
“I would stress that contrary to comments made, had the marquee not been available our customers would have remained in the floral hall or one of the other facilities that we have identified in our evacuation plans.
On being asked to comment regarding the customers being re-admitted to the facilities he said, “In a situation like this we work in partnership and consultation with the professionals to ensure our customers’ safety at all times. In this instance I am delighted with the excellent work of the Inverness Fire Team and would only concur with their view that time customers were admitted was the safe, correct and proper time to do so.
Concluding Mr Martin commented, “I would once again point out that from all respects the evacuation has gone according to plan; was executed safely with a maximum amount of professionalism from my team. There efforts have been appreciated by many of the visitors who were at the centre on Saturday and were involved in the situation.”