FIVE areas of Edinburgh have been identified as among Scotland’s worst hot spots for house fires.
A new map published by the Scottish Government shows the highest risk postcodes across the country. In Lothian and Borders, there are five postcode areas where there were more than 70 house fires recorded last year.
The hotspots highlighted are: EH4, stretching from Dean Village to Cramond; EH6, covering Leith; EH7, which runs from the city centre and Leith to Restalrig and Craigentinny; EH11, which stretches from Haymarket through Gorgie and Stenhouse to Sighthill; and EH14 which takes in Slateford, Longstone, Wester Hailes, Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno.
The map was released as part of a national campaign to encourage people to have working smoke alarms in the home.
The EH11 postcode includes Dalry Road where tragic firefighter Ewan Williamson died in 2009 as he battled a blaze which broke out in the Balmoral Bar and forced the rescue of 20 people from flats above.
In September this year, two people died in separate house fires within 24 hours. A woman died in what firefighters called a “fierce fire” in a four-storey block of flats in Dundee Terrace (EH11) and a man died in the top floor of a six-storey building in Powderhall Rigg (EH7).
Just last month, a 23-year-old man suffered the effects of smoke in a fire in a ground-floor flat of a tenement on Buchanan Street, Leith (EH6) and a 22-year-old woman was treated for slight smoke inhalation after a fire in a first-floor flat in Albion Road (EH7).
There were 1199 house fires in Lothian and Borders in 2011-12 and in 52 per cent there was no working smoke alarm or no smoke alarm at all. In the 12-month period, 12 people in the region lost their lives and 341 people were injured.
At the launch of the campaign at Crewe Toll Fire Station, Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said house fires in Scotland were at their lowest in a decade, but the map underlined the importance of protecting against the risk of fire.
She said: “As we approach December, we want everybody to enjoy the festivities in a way which is safe from the dangers of fire. The most important message we can give is never be complacent and always be on your guard, particularly when smoking or drinking alcohol.”
Alan Horberry, head of community safety at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Firefighters see the devastating consequences of house fires and the impact it has on families and our communities. I would urge people to take the time to think about their fire safety in the home and take up the opportunity of a free home safety visit from the fire and rescue service. It could save your life.”
To request a free Home Fire Safety Visit, text FIRE to 61611 or visit www.dontgivefireahome.org for fire safety advice.