Blast victim hauled clear after explosion rocks flat

Robert Anderson rescued his neighbour

Robert Anderson rescued his neighbour

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A HERO neighbour rescued an injured man from his burning home after a huge explosion rocked a Capital tenement.

Robert Anderson, 34, burst into the smoke-filled flat in Piershill and dragged the dazed man to safety before warning other residents to evacuate.

Neighbours said the force of the blast at Piershill Square East caused the building to shake violently and it was fortunate no-one had been killed.

The tenant of the blast-hit flat, named locally as Mason Browne, suffered burns to his hands and neck while a portion of his hair was said to have been scorched.

Mr Anderson told how he had been watching Braveheart at about 10.20pm on Thursday when he heard an “earth-shattering bang”.

“It was an almighty noise like you were standing right next to the One o’Clock Gun,” said the father-of-three.

“The whole building shook so much my shelf fell off the wall. I had the kids in the flat and my first priority was to make sure they were safe.

“I then opened my front door and the smoke was belting out into the hall so I ran down to find out where the smoke was coming from.

“Mason’s door was slightly ajar and I ran in and grabbed him out. He was that disorientated and out of it that he ran back into the house again.

“I believe it was in the same room as where the blast happened so he took a lot of the impact. I managed to get him out again then ran upstairs and got my own kids out. By the time we got outside the fire brigade were on hand.

Mr Browne was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary while Mr Anderson was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

He said: “I took a few gulps of toxic smoke and was coughing and spluttering a bit. The whole thing was an absolute shock and something I have never experienced before in my life. It was surreal.”

The modest rescuer baulked at suggestions he was a hero.

“It’s not about being a hero, it was just instinct,” he said. “As far as I know it was a an electrical fault with an appliance in the bedroom.

“Mason was very shaken and took the impact in the side of his head. You do what you can to help your neighbours and thankfully everybody was OK in the end.”

A spokesperson for the Lothian and Borders Fire Service said: “The fire started in the bedroom of the flat. A 37-year-old male suffered burns to the hands and neck. He was then taken to hospital.

“The occupant of the first floor above, a 34-year-old-male, suffered smoke inhalation.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com