Drylaw flat fire claims woman’s life

A fire engine sits outside the flat in Wester Drylaw Drive. Picture: Greg Macvean

A fire engine sits outside the flat in Wester Drylaw Drive. Picture: Greg Macvean

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Neighbours have spoken of their shock after a woman died in a fire at a city flat.

The 53-year-old was rescued from the ground-floor property in Ferry Road in the early hours of yesterday.

Firefighters found the victim unconscious in her Drylaw home after a neighbour raised the alarm at around 1.10am.

Paramedics rushed to the scene to treat the woman, who had severe smoke inhalation, but was later pronounced dead.

Nearby residents said they were shocked by the death of the unnamed woman, who is only believed to have lived at the property for a short period.

She is understood to have lived with her partner, who returned home shortly after 1am to see fire engines and police outside his flat.

An elderly neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told the News he had awoken in his armchair to find his living room engulfed in smoke.

He said: “I had fallen asleep in my armchair. I felt a bit dozy but then I saw my flat was full of smoke, though my alarm hadn’t gone off.

“I had a quick look round the flat and I couldn’t see any flames or anything – I opened up the cupboard and there was smoke just billowing up the cupboard. When I phoned the fire brigade, they responded very quickly. It’s very sad.”

He said everyone in the stairwell was evacuated and watched in shock on the pavement as the firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control.

Fire investigators were at the scene until around 11.30am, but police remained at the property throughout the day. An officer stood guard at the entrance to the block, and only residents were allowed to enter, among them young families and elderly people.

Officers and forensics experts could be seen searching the back garden while the forensics team also took photographs inside the flat and in the grounds outside.

The extensive smoke damage to the ground floor flat was clear from the exterior of the building.

Firefighters from Crewe Toll and McDonald Road were scrambled to the early-morning blaze and performed CPR on the woman until paramedics arrived.

Local Green councillor Gavin Barrie, who also sits on the city council’s police and fire scrutiny committee, said: “It’s a tragedy at this time of year, or at any time of the year. Hopefully a cause will be found.”

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “Firefighters used one high pressure hose reel and six breathing apparatus. They rescued one casualty.”

A police spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh responded along with other emergency services to an address in Ferry Road at around 1.10am on Thursday following reports of a fire.

“A 53-year-old woman died as a result and inquiries into the full circumstances surrounding this incident are ongoing.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com