A MEMORIAL has been unveiled to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of a firefighter in a Linwood blaze.

Edmund Burt was 23 when he died in the disaster at the R & W Watson mill in October 1968.

He was killed when part of the building collapsed and trapped several crew members. He could not be rescued despite his colleagues being pulled to safety.

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On Sunday, exactly half a century since the blaze, residents and community leaders turned out at the Napier Street site of the former mill to mark the occasion.

A commemorative stone was unveiled and some of Burt's crew members who were there on the fateful day were in attendance.

Graeme Binning, area manager for Renfrewshire, said the day had been a "humbling" event.

He said: “It was an honour to lay this commemorative stone, which will act as a sincere memorial to the bravery and sacrifice of Edmund Burt, and all firefighters in Scotland who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our crews, colleagues and partners for their dedication and support in organising the service in Linwood on Sunday.

"It was a poignant day, made all the more notable in that we were able to welcome members of Edmund's crew from 1968 to be there with us."

There was also a service in the Tweedie Hall held for Burt, who was based at Johnstone Fire Station.

Renfrewshire's Provost, Lorraine Cameron, was also in attendance at the ceremony.

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She said “This was an important event which allowed the people of Linwood to pay their tributes to Edmund Burt, who lost his life tragically in the fire at R & W Watson paper mill.

"The tragedy is well remembered in the town and I was honoured to attend this service, held in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, in Mr Burt’s memory.”