Edinburgh fire victim speaks of dramatic rescue

The 64-year old was rescued by fire fighters. Picture; John Devlin
The 64-year old was rescued by fire fighters. Picture; John Devlin
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A FIRE in a block of flats blew open the front door of one terrified resident who had to be rescued from a window by firefighters.

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The blaze swept through an Edinburgh tenement on Wednesday night after a cooker on the ground floor caught fire.

Dozens of firefighters tackled the fire and rescued trapped residents, including Cornelio Ibarra, 64.

He said the stairwell was quickly filled with black smoke and intense heat that made escape by the stairs impossible.

Mr Ibarra, who lives above the flat that caught fire, said: “I could smell smoke when I was in my bedroom and I could see the smoke coming under the front door.

He said “back pressure” from the heat and smoke pushed his front door wide open.

“The smoke was so thick and black, there was such back pressure from the smoke was very strong and it was very hard to close the door again.

“I went back in and opened the window to get fresh air. “

The 64 year-old was eventually rescued by firemen who used a ladder to help him climb out of the window.

“The fire engine then took me down out of the window with the ladder,” he said.

His wife Zenaida, 60, was at work at the time of the fire, which broke out at about 7pm.

The couple returned to the scene of the fire in Lower Granton Road this morning.

Mrs Ibarra said: “We’re not sure when we’ll be allowed back in, we’ve come back this morning to see if we can collect some things.”

Around 50 firefighters and 11 fire engines tackled the fire. Two of the people rescued were taken to hospital to be checked over.

Two fire engines remained at the scene this morning continuing checks of the building and dampening to prevent any further fire breaking out.

Specialist officers from the SFRS Fire Investigation Unit have are also in attendence and will work to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement that they “were confronted with a severe fire in a ground floor flat, which was spreading to floors above”.

They added: “While search and rescue teams made their way to those trapped inside properties on the upper levels, other firefighters fought the blaze both from inside the building and from a turntable ladder outside.”