Aug 3 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
TWO teenagers have appeared in court accused of allegedly starting the fire that left one of Ayr’s historic buildings badly damaged.
James Nesbit, 18, from Kilmarnock, and Jordan Baird, 16, from Ayr, are both charged with wilful fireraising at Templeton House on Wednesday, July 25.
Nesbit and Baird made no plea or declaration when they appeared in private at Ayr Sheriff Court on Friday, July 27.
Nesbit was remanded into custody while Baird was released on bail.
The blaze, which was tackled by 35 firefighters, sent large parts of the mid-19th century villa up in smoke.
Fire crews were called to the site at 7pm on Wednesday, July 25, when the blaze had already spread to the second floor and had taken hold of the roof.
Police closed surrounding roads as five fire crews from Ayr, Troon, Maybole and Dreghorn fought to contain the inferno using two special high reach appliances.
But the blaze was only officially extinguished at 7am on Thursday morning.
None of the surrounding properties had to be evacuated but they were put on alert due to the clouds of smoke streaming off the fire.
Part of the historic listed building is understood to have collapsed and is being evaluated by South Ayrshire Council officials to determine its structural safety.
Templeton House had operated as a care home since the 1970s but was shut down by the council in 2009 following claims that it didn’t meet Care Commission standards and needed cash spent on upgrades.
However, the decision was very controversial as the previous review by the commission praised the house and made no recommendation for upgrades.
But the doors were shut, and in October 2010 the council sold the house to Care Concern Holdings Ltd for £1.11 million.
The company, which also own Windyhall Care Home on Ayr’s Southpark Road, applied to demolish most of the original house in August last year, and replace it with an 88 bedroom, three storey care facility.
The move was met with more than 50 objections from the community as the area is classed as protected, and it never made it past the planning panel.
But in March this year, the site’s owners Windyhall Care Home LLP, were granted permission for a smaller 60 bedroom home.