A YOUNG family who lost everything when a fire caused their roof to collapse were away on holiday at the time of the blaze.
The blaze broke out on the roof of a house in Seaview Terrace, Portobello, on Wednesday afternoon, and tore through the building before spreading to a neighbouring property.
The four-bedroom terraced house – which was valued at more than £400,000 – had been recently redecorated by the family, who had only lived there a few months, according to neighbours.
Stranded workmen from nearby firm City Roofing Limited had to be rescued by firefighters after the strong winds whipped the blaze into the next door house.
The family, who have two young sons, are understood to have been on a half-term holiday and have not yet returned to the property. It is unclear whether they have been told about the damage.
Bruce Kidd, the owner of the house where the fire started, said both homes had been completely gutted and his family had lost everything in the blaze.
Mr Kidd, who has lived at the house with his wife and two young daughters for seven years, said: “My wife and I were working when I got a call from the fire brigade saying I should come home.
“I didn’t know what had really happened until I saw the black smoke from the road. There was nothing I could do when I got there but stand by and watch.
“We are going through everything to try to find anything to salvage.
“There are some trunks with my daughters’ toys in which have survived but everything else is gone.”
His daughters were very upset by the loss of their home, as they are having to stay with family for the moment, Mr Kidd said.
The 52-year-old added: “Possessions can be replaced. Right now it is about making sure my family is looked after.”
Neighbour Abdul Ali, 57, said he couldn’t imagine how the family would feel to come home to their wrecked house.
Mr Ali, whose wife runs Seaview Guesthouse in the street, said: “It’s awful what happened, though thank goodness no-one was there.
“I came home for lunch and saw the smoke and thought it might have been my house.”
An assessment will be made today whether the two burned-out houses are structurally sound and some neighbours have also been evacuated as the homes remain uninhabitable.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious and a fire service investigation is under way to establish the cause.