Terrified residents rescued from Leith flat inferno

The scorched block of flats
The scorched block of flats

SHOCKED neighbours say they feel lucky to be alive after an inferno ripped through their block of flats in Leith.

Up to 20 firefighters battled for more than two hours to bring the blaze under control, while two men in their 20s were taken to hospital after reportedly leaping from a window.

The blaze took hold shortly after 10am yesterday (Saturday)

The blaze took hold shortly after 10am yesterday (Saturday)

“I was sat in bed watching television and my bedroom started filling with smoke,” said one resident of the 17-flat five-floor block.

“I jumped out of bed and there was smoke pouring through the front door - I looked through the spy hole and couldn’t see anything, it was just black.

“I understand two men had to jump out of their first floor window to escape from the fire and were taken to hospital – they’re lucky to be alive.”

Residents feared a Grenfell Tower-style tragedy as the fire took hold.

“The fire commander said she was concerned at how quickly it spread and it would have definitely set the whole block up if we had cladding on the side of the building,” added the flat owner.

“It made you think about what happened in London.”

Flames are thought to have spread from a first floor flat kitchen after food was left burning.

The apartment was gutted with damage also to neighbouring flats.

The two men needing hospital treatment for smoke inhalation are understood to have been asleep in the flat at the time.

A 33-year-old man was rescued from a balcony at the rear of the block and four residents helped by firefighters from another flat.

The resident said the fire is the culmination of two years anti-social behaviour by two occupants of the fire-ravaged flat, believed to be Polish brothers.

He reported police being called last weekend to break up an all-night party at their flat at 7.30am.

“These two guys don’t give a toss about everyone else.

“They don’t actually realise their actions could lead to disaster. I’m not surprised, I’m angry.

“I hardly slept last night because of the damage and smell of smoke,” the neighbour added.

With two-bedroom flats on the market for £176,000, the block attracts a mixture of buy-to-rent and owner occupiers.

The resident said that building factors had left them to fend for themselves, unable to contact their out-of-hours duty manager.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire Service said: “Firefighters led two male casualties to safety.

“They were provided oxygen and taken to hospital by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Five casualties were helped by ladder but didn’t require medical treatment.”