'It was a nightmare' - Family left traumatised by Drylaw fire desperate to go home

A distressed family of four, who were evacuated from their Drylaw home after a devastating fire destroyed their flat, have said they "just want to go home".

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 7:49 am

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The blaze, which started in the early hours of Saturday, September 18 has left several properties in the area uninhabitable, causing seven families to become displaced.

Mother-of-two Vitalija Audrulyteas is among those unable to return home, and after more than two weeks living on friends' couches, is desperate to find a stable home for her two children, three-year-old Milda and seven-year-old Gabriele.

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The 34-year-old social worker was at home with her children and husband when the fire began.

Having found sanctuary with friends at Easter Road, Mrs Audrulyteas said her children have been unable to sleep since escaping the fire and she is anxious to return home soon.

Speaking to the Evening News about the fire, Mrs Audrulyteas said: “I was sleeping when I heard some noises, I thought it was some youngsters going around after the clubs but the noise wouldn’t stop.

“I got up to check and what I saw was terrifying, I saw fire and no firemen. I went to my balcony and told my husband to wake up.

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“He checked the flat and the flat was covered in smoke, I was seeing buildings on fire, it was terrifying.

“We were so lucky, if my eldest has been sleeping in her own room, where most of the smoke was, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Unable to leave their flat, the family waited on the balcony for four hours before they were eventually escorted to safety by firefighters at 4am.

“I saw a man jumped out of a second floor window because he was so scared. I didn’t want to jump because we were too high up.” Said Mrs Audrulyteas.

“I saw a woman holding her head in her hands and screaming ‘who did it’ I thought someone had died. It was a nightmare.”

Building needs maintenance

The building has been significantly damaged by the fire, and while safe to return to families cannot yet move back in.

Problems with power in the area due to the fires has stalled the repairs and families living in the buildings face an uncertain future.

Unhappy with the lack of clarity about when they will be moving back in Mrs Audrulyteas said her family needed answers.

“I need straight answers’ time frame of when we can get back in," she said.

She added: “I just want to go home, but nobody is giving us any straight answers. We were told it was going to be two weeks, then two months, then before Christmas and now we are looking as Spring next year.”

A spokesperson from Edinburgh City Council has confirmed that the family has been offered temporary accommodation in the city.

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