Barnton house fire: Neighbours pay heartfelt tribute to 'institution' Betty, 97, who died after blaze

Neighbours have paid heartfelt tribute to a 97-year-old woman who died following a house fire in the Barnton area, describing her as 'an institution'.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 8:18 am

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) received a report of a fire in a two-storey residence on Braehead Avenue around 5.19am on Thursday 8 July.

They sent four appliances to the scene and an ambulance was also dispatched.

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Braehead Avenue: 97-year-old dies in house fire on Edinburgh street

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Police confirmed that a 97-year-old woman was taken to hospital, where she died a short time later.

The woman has not been formally identified by police but neighbours knew her as Betty Harrison.

Her next door neighbour, Francis, cried as she told the Evening News: "A neighbour rang my doorbell after 5am and I came out in my pyjamas.

“There were huge flames bursting out of Betty's bedroom window upstairs

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) received a report of a fire in a two-storey residence on Braehead Avenue around 5.19am on Thursday.

at the front of the house.

"Today her son, his wife and her two grandsons were here. They were in shock. I don't think it has sunk in

yet for them.”

She added: “The street is absolutely devastated.

"I've known Betty for over 30 years. Today would be the day I would put her bin out for her. Just talking about it is making me so upset.

“She was a lovely woman, always bright and cheerful. It's so sad. She will be missed."

A couple who lived a few doors away from Betty said: "We came out this morning and the ambulance was parked near our door. I could see she was still moving. I can't believe she is gone."

"Betty was an institution. She has lived here since the 1970s. She was so youthful and she loved Thai Chi, right up until her health declined a bit in the last few years.

"She didn't get about as much but she was very outspoken and independent.

"We were there whenever she needed a hand. She used to call us when she had trouble with her electric meter."

Forensics and fire services remained at the scene on Thursday afternoon investigating the cause of the blaze.

The first floor of the house is scorched with the roof visibly damaged above the room directly over the garage.

It's understood the neighbour who alerted emergency services is isolating due to a positive case of Covid-19 in their household.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police were made aware of a fire at a property on Braehead Avenue around 5.40am on Thursday, 8 July, 2021.

“The fire was extinguished by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. A 97-year-old woman was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where she died a short time later.

“Enquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.”

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