Woman dies after aerosol explodes as she makes Christmas wreath

Roseanne Rowan Armstrong died in the freak accident.
Roseanne Rowan Armstrong died in the freak accident.
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A MOTHER has died after an aerosol exploded while she was making a Christmas wreath at home.

Roseanne Rowan Armstrong, 43, had been preparing festive decorations at the home she shared with her elderly parents, when the blaze tore through the ground-floor flat in Old Craighall.

Ms Armstrong was taken to St John’s Hospital after the Sunday morning blaze, but she died later from her injuries.

Her parents Bobby, 77, and Margaret Rose, 76, were not seriously hurt but were last night still being treated in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Ms Armstrong’s adult son Edward set up a website in his mother’s memory. “My mother donated her life for her mother and father. Not a woman alive that could take her place,” Edward wrote online.

Her aunt, Margaret Rowan wrote: “Such tragic news today, my niece ­Roseanne Rowan lost her life in a house fire and my brother Bobby and his wife Margaret Rose are in hospital very ill, as they were in the fire as well. Please pray for them.”

It is understood Ms Armstrong had been using an aerosol to decorate the wreath in her bedroom and a lit cigarette sparked the explosion.

Residents described hearing a sound “like fireworks” as the pressurised can exploded.

Neighbour Jim Douglas, 72, said: “There was a terrific bang and the windows blew out. I woke up to this – it was quite a bang, a big explosion. She had a small bedroom; that’s where it happened.”

Mr Douglas said he heard “crackling” and a sound like an aerosol popping. “There was this ‘bang, bang’ and I looked out and there was a big glow,” he said. “I came out and the flames were right up.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she heard screams from the flat.

“There was smoke coming up the carpets by the time we left the house,” she said. “I thought it was fireworks.”

Ms Armstrong had moved in with her parents, who have lived at the Old Craighall flat for around 20 years, to help look after them.

Yesterday flowers were laid at the scene, while charred furniture lay in the back garden.

The windows of the flat – its exterior walls stained black with smoke from the blaze – were boarded up last night.

Mr Douglas said the Rowans were “smashing neighbours”. “They were happy to talk with you over the fence,” he added. “It’s a sad state of affairs.”

Fire engines from Haddington and Musselburgh were sent to the scene at 2.39am. It is understood oxygen and gel for burns were used in a bid to help the injured.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

“A joint investigation between SFRS and Police Scotland is taking place to establish the cause of the fire.”

Six firefighters attended the blaze using two high pressure hose reels to extinguish it. 
kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com