A CREW of workmen were rescued from the roof of a blazing building after a fire broke out – tearing into a neighbouring house.
Flames ignited in the roof space of a property in
Seaview Terrace at around 2.40pm yesterday, sparking a major operation for Scottish Fire and Rescue teams.
Witnesses told how plumes of black smoke were seen billowing from the roof of the mid-terraced house in Portobello.
Four workers from Portobello firm City Roofing Ltd left stranded on the roof had to be rescued by firefighters using a hydraulic platform.
A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that none of the employees had been injured.
It is understood that the blaze was fuelled by strong winds and spread to an adjoining house, making the roof collapse.
Neighbour Scott Tulloch, 21, was alerted to the blaze when smoke started pouring down the chimney. The tennis coach opened a window and was struck by the acrid fumes before rushing from the house.
He said: “I just heard these loud bangs in there. I didn’t know what was going on. Then the smoke started pouring through the chimney and it was pitch black.
“I rushed out the front and there was smoke everywhere.
“The roof of the neighbouring house collapsed in just 20 minutes.
“We were unbelievably lucky. If the wind had been blowing the other way it might have been different.”
His parents, Katrina and Charles Tulloch, were returning from a walk on the beach when they saw the flames.
Mrs Tulloch said: “The flames were flickering through the roof and then spread so quickly to the next-door house.
“The wind was so strong that the house is absolutely devastated.
“I could see the windows blow in and the flames inside the houses.
“It was so dramatic.”
Last night, the family was unsure when they would be allowed to return home – or what damage would await them as water from the firefighters’ hoses had been pouring in the windows.
Both of the damaged properties were believed to be empty at the time of the blaze.
One neighbour, who declined to be identified, said: “It’s terrible what has happened to their homes, although it is good no-one was in. I could barely see out of my windows through the plumes of black smoke.
“It’s just a few doors down and we weren’t sure how far it would spread.”
Eight appliances attended the incident and paramedics were also on hand to offer treatment at the scene.
A police cordon was in place for much of the afternoon along Seaview Terrace and it remained in place throughout the night.
An investigation has been launched by the fire service to determine the cause of the blaze.