Yeaman Place fire victim named amid probe into cause

Emergency crews attend the scene in Yeaman Place. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Emergency crews attend the scene in Yeaman Place. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE man who died in a fire which broke out in an 
Edinburgh tenement block has been named locally.

Neighbours said Edinburgh University graduate Andre Arkell, believed to be 35 years old, had died in the blaze in Yeaman Place on Tuesday evening.

An investigation into the fire was continuing today after the body was recovered, with investigators still working to establish its cause.

Witnesses reported “explosions” followed by screams from inside the flat.

They had tried desperately to force their way into the property but could not break down the locked door.

Police have said they cannot confirm the identity of the person who died.

Mr Arkell posted on social media that he was a sufferer of stiff person syndrome (SPS), which is a rare neurologic disorder characterised by progressive rigidity and stiffness.

SPS occurs in roughly one in a million people, is most commonly found in those who are middle-aged and is distinguished by symptoms including chronic pain and impaired mobility.

He also posted an image of a new welding mask five days ago. Another shows stacks of paper and cardboard piled up in his living room.

Social media content has also indicated that Mr Arkell was an avid Game of Thrones and South Park fan, and a Norwich City football supporter.

A fire service spokesman said: “Officers from the Fire Investigation Unit attended the scene to begin a joint investigation with police.

“No further information is available regarding the incident.

“Information to help householders prevent fires and the tragedies they cause is available from the SFRS website and crews throughout Scotland routinely provide free home fire safety visits.

“The visits are always arranged for a time that is convenient for the resident. They allow local firefighters to highlight common hazards and help people take simple steps to address them.

“With early warning known to be vital if a fire does happen, the SFRS crews also check smoke alarms are working and even provide and install the devices if they are found to be needed.”

We told yesterday how neighbours attempted to reach a man as he called for help during Tuesday’s fire.

Adam Pindur, 23, who lives directly below the flat where the blaze began, said he heard screams and tried desperately to kick down the door to rescue his neighbour.

And a woman who lives nearby said her teenage daughter had seen flames through the window opposite and had also heard “explosions”.

Fire crews from Tollcross, Sighthill and McDonald Road attended Tuesday’s blaze and received a dozen emergency calls, with the first at 5.15pm.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com