Woman dies in Edinburgh house fire

Scene of the fire. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Scene of the fire. Pic: Ian Rutherford

Frantic attempts were made to save a woman’s life after an early morning blaze at a block of flats.

Firefighters smashed throu­gh the front door of the ground-floor property in Liberton before carrying the victim, believed to be aged in her late 50s or early 60s, to the front garden.

Paramedics then tried in vain to revive her in front of shocked neighbours before she was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and pronounced dead.

Police and the fire service are now investigating the cause of the blaze.

Smoke billowed from the block in Burnhead Crescent at about 12.45am on Friday as residents slept.

Neighbours told how they leapt from their beds to help rescue an 87-year-old woman from the flat above the victim’s property.

“A neighbour from upstairs was banging on doors and then all the smoke alarms went off,” said a 25-year-old witness who asked not to be named.

“It was quite frantic but we stayed calm and knocked on doors and people came out.

“My neighbour’s quite elderly so I went to help her out of her flat.

“There was smoke in there and I thought the fire was there at first, but it was just coming through the floorboards.

“We got her out on to the landing and phoned the fire brigade who got here fast, in about two minutes.

“The fire brigade rushed in and smashed down the door of the flat where the fire was as we tried to help my neighbour down the stairs.

“But all the smoke from the flat below filled the landing and at that point I got told to get out so I ran out as they carried my neighbour.

“There were no flames, just thick smoke.

“I’ve only lived here a year and didn’t know the lady who passed away well, only to say ‘hello’.”

Fellow residents of the quiet street described how they woke on Good Friday morning to the fire’s aftermath.

The front door and window to the ground-floor flat were boarded up while broken glass and a scorched frame lay on the front path.

“It’s so shocking for this to happen,” said a passer-by.

“It’s really sad news and to happen at Easter as well, during the holidays.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said officers were called to the scene at 12.49am.

“A total of four fire appliances, including a height appliance, were immediately mobilised to the scene,” she added.

“Firefighters dressed in protective breathing apparatus entered the building and removed two persons who were then transferred into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“Crews extinguished the flames and remained at the scene until 3.36am to ensure the area was safe.

“Sadly, and despite the best efforts of the emergency service personnel, one woman passed away.”