Rescuers had to take extra care on Monday night when they crawled into a building to free a man trapped under a collapsed roof.
The lengthy procedure took over three hours, with emergency service personnel forced to slow things down in order to extract the man, who was thought to have been sheltering in the house, without bringing the rest of the roof down upon him and those attempting to reach him.
The alarm went up just after 9.30 p.m. when Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service responded to a call about a man trapped inside derelict Craigieburn Farmhouse in Lochgreen Road, Falkirk.
Appliances from Larbert, Falkirk and Slamannan sped to the scene - a listed building - and quickly assessed the situation.
The Urban Search and Rescue Team arrived from Alloa a short time later and immediately set to work trying to free the man.
Gordon Pryde, Central Fire and Rescue Service group manager, was on site to help co-ordinate the rescue.
He said: “We were aware at time of call that a man was trapped in the building and we made vocal contact with him when we arrived. We were able to speak to him and found out what condition he was in.
“He was responsive at that time and remained so throughout. This allowed us to talk to him during the operation and take our time to ensure the extraction was safe for all parties.”
Falkirk Council structural engineers were on hand to advise crews on the best way to gain access to the premises and the safest route to follow to get to the man.
Senior officer Pryde said: “We were able to pick up bits and pieces of debris and clear a path to him using a ladder to span the building and give us a platform to work from.
“We realised he was not seriously injured, so our next main concern was not to cause any more of the building to fall down on him or on the rescue team. The roof had come down on to the first floor, but it had not fallen through into the basement.
“We used our miniature cameras to find out where he was. He was able to see the light from the camera and we started lifting the debris off him until he was able to climb out himself.”
The man, believed to have been living in the derelict building for some time, was taken by ambulance to Forth Valley Royal Hospital. He was described as having no significant injuries.
Falkirk Council structural engineers are now working to make the building safe and are in discussion with the owners of the premises concerning its future.