50m wall collapse forces Leith residents to be evacuated

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A SUPERMARKET chain has launched an investigation after a wall collapsed during work on a new branch – sparking a major gas scare.

Dozens of residents had to be evacuated after nearly 30 tonnes of rubble came crashing down towards flats on St Clair Place, rupturing a pipe.

Fire crews from McDonald Road and Marionville Road arrived on the scene at approximately 2pm on Saturday and evacuated the 16 flats amid fears of a major gas leak.

Police Scotland blocked off the road to St Clair Place.

A new Lidl is being built off Easter Road backing on to Easter Cemetery, replacing the old B&Q.

Ashley Greenhorn, 30, said her boyfriend was in their home of two years when he heard a huge crashing sound.

She said: “We were made aware that they were taking away the roofing to finish demolition today.

“I thought it was odd that there was no supporting scaffolding on this side.

“My boyfriend Scott Loftus was in the spare room and he said there was a loud bang and it felt like an earthquake.

“Our living room and kitchen was also covered in dust as we had to leave our windows open due to the gas leak.”

She added: “It looked like a bomb site – they’re going to have to redo the whole garden and rip down the section of the wall that didn’t completely crumble.”

The 50m wall collapsed towards the flats, destroying the garden.

It also ripped out the window of a ground-floor flat.

Ken Carlyle, a project manager and owner of one of the flats, said it was fortunate no-one was killed.

He said: “The garden is regularly used and is a drying green.

“It is pure luck that nobody was injured or killed.”

Scottish Gas attended and two teams of firefighters worked to remove the bricks to locate the gas isolation valve and check for casualties in the garden.

A Lidl spokesperson confirmed a probe was under way.

They added: “We are investigating into this matter and how this could have happened.

“We have been working with Daltons Demolition to ascertain the cause of this incident and will let you know once this investigation has been completed. We are happy to report that nobody was injured in this incident.”

The city council’s building control officer inspected the building and the structural integrity of the flats was found to be acceptable. Residents were allowed back into their homes by 6pm.

No-one at Daltons Demolition could be reached for comment.