Teenager rescued from flat blaze tells of terror

Beckie Cunningham, who was rescued during the blaze

Beckie Cunningham, who was rescued during the blaze

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A TEENAGE girl plucked to safety from a second floor flat after a blaze today told how it was the second time she’s had to escape a fire.

The fire broke out in the bedroom of an empty flat in North Junction Street, Leith, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The stairwell where the fire broke out

The stairwell where the fire broke out

Beckie Cunningham, 16, and her boyfriend Daniel Kay, 19, who she had been staying with, were among five people rescued by fire crews.

Today, the teenager told of her ordeal and revealed it was the second time she had faced a blaze.

She said: “I didn’t think we would get out in time. I was crying. I was scared for my life – I was scared for Daniel’s life more because he has very bad chronic asthma.

“But he made sure I got out of the window first. I was at the window for about five minutes before the cherry picker got to me.

“We were the first people to be rescued and I was so worried about the other people in the stair – it was just terrifying.”

“I had a similar experience when I was six or seven years old, where I had to be taken over a wall because the next again house was on fire.”

Investigations are still ongoing into the cause of the blaze on Saturday, which broke out in the bedroom of an unoccupied property two doors down.

Miss Cunningham, who lives with her mother in nearby Hamilton Wynd, said she had been in bed at the time.

She said: “We looked out the window and the firefighters were right there below us. Daniel asked them what was happening and they told him to stay in the flat because there was a fire.

“That’s when I started panicking. Until then we didn’t know anything about the fire.

“Daniel went to the door and all he could see was black smoke. I asked him what direction he thought the fire was and he didn’t know.”

A 65-year-old man was rescued from a flat on the second floor.

A 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were given survival advice by control room staff until the arrival of fire crews, who escorted them down the stairs.

The pair were checked over by ambulance staff.

Around 20 firefighters, using three fire engines and one height appliance, were on the scene.

Miss Cunningham added: “No one lives in the flat and the door had been open for months, so I thought maybe squatters had got in.

“I don’t know if the fire has been an accident or if it has been deliberate.

“People need to keep themselves safe and make sure they have a smoke alarm.”

On Friday night at 7pm up to 40 firefighters were called to deal with a blaze in the roof space of the Elim Church at Holy Corner.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said crews had to wear protective clothing and masks in case the building contained asbestos.