A WOMAN has been taken to a psychiatric hospital after her flat was deliberately set on fire.
Emergency services raced to Blackford as the blaze spread to neighbouring properties.
The 35-year-old woman then fled the four-storey building in Macdowall Road as fire crews attempted to rescue her neighbours while flames shot from windows.
More than 20 firefighters were involved in the operation, which lasted around two hours yesterday morning and completely destroyed much of the woman’s first-floor home.
She was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to be treated for smoke inhalation before later being transferred to the Royal Edinburgh for psychiatric evaluation.
An eyewitness said at least one occupant of the building had only just made it out.
He said: “I heard sirens and when I looked out the window saw smoke gushing from the flat. I went outside and there was a lady who said she lived in the top-floor flat and was woken up by her neighbours banging on the door. She just had time to grab her cat and get out of the building.”
An investigation is under way, but fire chiefs said the blaze was being treated as deliberate.
Sarah Kirton, who lives in a neighbouring building, said: “I heard the sirens about 9.20am, but it wasn’t until my flatmate texted me a little while later that I knew there had been a fire.
“It’s pretty scary. The flat looks like a burned-out shell.”
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I was on the phone to my mum when I looked out of the window and saw orange flames and lots of smoke coming out of the flat. I hung up and called the fire brigade but I think someone else had already called them.”
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said crews had been faced with an extremely challenging situation.
A spokeswoman said: “This was a very severe fire and crews worked hard to prevent it from spreading. The living room was gutted by the fire and there was extensive damage to the bedroom and bathroom.”