Fears that fire-hit building could collapse

11 September 2019, 10:05 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 10:13

Edinburgh fire

Streets around a four-storey building in Edinburgh are to remain closed off indefinitely after an "explosion" near a school.

The incident in the Fountainbridge area, near to Tollcross Primary, was reported shortly before 5pm on Tuesday.

Nine pump and two height appliances were sent to the scene by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

Road closures were put in place at Lochrin Terrace, Ponton Street, West Tollcross and through to Gardner's Crescent as rubble had scattered across the ground.

Alasdair Perry, SFRS incident commander, said: "On arrival, crews were confronted with a well-developed fire and visible structural damage.

"Firefighters were committed to search the building and commence both internal and external firefighting.

"We are working with our colleagues in Police Scotland and a number of other partner agencies to resolve this incident and make the area safe.

"I would like to thank all the firefighters and control staff involved in responding to this emergency and also our partners for their ongoing efforts.

"Due to the concern over the structural integrity of the building it is anticipated that the surrounding streets are likely to remain closed for a period of time."

Bricks from the tenement building appeared to have been blasted from the outer walls in the explosion.

Social media posts showed large plumes of smoke and fire coming from the window.

Police, ambulance and fire services were all in attendance.

Calum Brown, from Dalgety Bay in Fife, works opposite the scene and said he felt the "glass office" shake.

The 23-year-old recruitment worker said: "I heard a bang then looked around and there was just dust rising from the ground.

"You could see smoke pouring from the chimney - I got there just before the first fire engine - you could see flames coming out of the window.

"Bricks were missing from the tenement building and had landed on the street.

"It was lucky that no-one was underneath at the time."

Edinburgh police tweeted: "Emergency services are in attendance following a report of an explosion and fire within a building in the Fountainbridge area around 5pm today. Road closures: Lochrin Terrace, Ponton Street, West Tollcross and through to Gardner's Crescent."