Craigmillar high-rise residents living in fear after 4 fires in 3 days

Residents of Greendykes House Shaun James Brown and Sarah Gill where a number of fires have started recently and have left the residents scared for their lives
Residents of Greendykes House Shaun James Brown and Sarah Gill where a number of fires have started recently and have left the residents scared for their lives
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TERRIFIED tenants in a high-rise block are fearing for their lives after four fires in three days.

Arsonists are blamed for starting blazes at the 15-storey Greendykes House in Craigmillar between Thursday and Friday.

Some residents had to be evacuated by up to 30 firefighters in the latest inferno on Saturday morning.

“A lot of people are scared and a lot want out now,” said Shaun Brown, 33, who watched from the street as Saturday’s drama unfolded at around 9am.

“He [the tenant] was just hanging out of the window having a cigarette and there was smoke all around him. I shouted to him but he just stayed there.”

Firefighters had to rescue the occupant of the 14th floor flat and he was taken to hospital but has since been released. His cat is understood to have been killed by the fire.

Eye witnesses described ambulances scrambled to the flats with residents helped out by firefighters wearing breathing masks.

Shaun’s 11th floor one-bedroom flat filled with smoke after fireraisers set a bin alight on Thursday afternoon.

That was followed by two rubbish chute fires on Friday. “The concierge had sealed off the chutes but I think someone had managed to force them open,” said the former charity shop worker.

Now Shaun is frightened for his safety and that of his two dogs, mastiff-staffie cross Star, aged two, and 18-month-old husky, Thor.

“Some of us have various disabilities and we’re all scared now,” said Shaun, who suffers from mental health issues and whose neighbour is in a wheelchair.

“I’m scared to be away from my flat because I have two dogs and I don’t want to be out without them in case something happens. I was so scared. There was smoke coming in my window but luckily there’s no damage – just the smell.”

A family is believed to have been evicted following Friday’s fires with no injuries reported.

Shaun said the spate of fires has tarnished an otherwise tranquil place to live in the city council-run block.

“Generally, I’m happy with the flats,” he said. “I was homeless before and this was the quickest way to get a flat.

“There’s a lot of really nice people here – just some not so nice people.”

John Graham was visiting his girlfriend on Saturday and said: “Last three days there have been fires in the building.

“Yesterday I believe there was two and the people who caused the past ones has been evicted. And I counted 15 emergency vehicles this morning.”

Devine Love said: “Let’s hope this gets stopped whatever’s going on. My little sister’s just moved there.”

Cllr Kate Campbell, housing and economy convenor, said: “The safety of our residents is our top priority. Regular inspections are carried out by the Fire Service and housing concierge teams.”

Greendykes House and its twin tower Wauchope House are the only original housing left in Greendykes. Neighbouring low-rise blocks were demolished during regeneration.

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com