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THE fate of an elderly woman whose house was destroyed in a fire remained unknown last night.

Fears were growing for Joan Rennie after police failed to trace her after the fierce blaze ripped through her cottage in the tiny fishing village of Crovie, Banffshire.

The roof collapsed in the fire, making it unsafe for investigators to enter the gutted building.

The retired teacher, who is a member of the Crovie Conservation Society, is understood to have lived at No49 for many years.

She was thanked in the production notes for new Scottish short film Whistle My Lad, which was shot around the Banffshire coast.

Joan's dog is also missing after the fire, which broke out shortly after 7pm on Tuesday.

The flames quickly took hold and villagers feared the blaze could spread among the tightly packed houses.

Firefighters from surrounding areas rushed to the popular tourist spot - but then had to abandon their fire engines and make their way on foot.

Crovie is hemmed in by steep cliffs on one side and the sea on the other. It meant firefighters had to leave their fire engines at one end of the village and run their hoses along the narrow waterfront.

They battled for more than two-and-a-half hours to bring the blaze under control.

A police spokesman said: "Four appliances from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stationed at Macduff, Banff, Turriff and Fraserburgh attended.

"The blaze was well established on their arrival."

One fire engine and police remained on the scene overnight.

The police spokesman added: "Inquiries to trace the owner of the property remain ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101."

A structural engineer was called in yesterday to assess the damage before a full search of the property could go ahead.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said an investigation would start once it was safe to enter the building.


AFTERMATH Firefighters outside gutted cottage yesterday

FIERCE FLAMES Firefighters battle the fire, which caused the roof to collapse, right fiht b ttl th fihi h

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 8, 2014
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