HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc228-9
26. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered the total loss by fire of the Thurso lifeboat in its shed on 10th December, when both fire pumps broke down after operating weakly for a brief period; if he is aware that the fire had not reached the lifeboat when the brigade arrived; that it could have been saved if the fire pumps had been in proper working order; and whether he will hold a public inquiry.

Mr. N. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend has considered a report by the firemaster on this incident. According to my information, it seems probable that the lifeboat was involved when the fire brigade unit arrived and could not have been saved. In view, however, of the further representations which my hon. Friend has made to my right hon. Friend, he has asked Her Majesty's Inspector of Fire Brigades in Scotland to visit Thurso and investigate the matter on the spot.

As regards the condition of the pumps, my right hon. Friend is assured by the fire authority that action has been taken to ensure that the appliances of the brigade are maintained in good order.

Sir D. Robertson

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask if he can assure me that steps have been taken already to repair these inefficient machines which were out of order, because human lives might well be at stake if this defective equipment is allowed to continue in its present state?

Mr. Macpherson

Yes, Sir, my right hon. Friend is assured that steps have been taken on those lines.

Air Commodore Harvey

Will my hon. Friend do what he can to raise funds in Scotland to replace the lifeboat shed and the lifeboat?

Mr. Macpherson

I shall gladly consider that.

Sir D. Robertson

Is it not the case that Thurso raises more money per head of the population than any place in Great Britain—6s. 8d. per annum—for the lifeboat which was destroyed and that there can be no reflection on Thurso in that regard?