FIRE crews have tackled a major blaze in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh, rescuing at least five people.
At least 40 firefighters were at the scene on the corner of Lothian Road and Fountainbridge from 10.30am yesterday morning.
Fire crews said five residents of a four storey tenement had been rescued with ten firefighters sweeping through the building searching for more. The blaze was under control by around 11am.
Smoke could be seen billowing from the first floor window of a residential tenement close to the Samson’s takeaway and eyewitnesses reported seeing a “fireball” burst from a window.
Fountainbridge was closed both ways between Lothian Road and Semple Street due to the building fire, with at least seven appliances at the scene.
Fire chiefs said wider traffic diversions were being set up.
The owner of the flat where it first started is a music teacher in her 60s, according to neighbours. She escaped the blaze without serious injury, they added.
Karina Mierzejewska, 36, a mum of one and a student nurse at Edinburgh Napier University, was also among those who escaped the building.
She said: “I live next door to the house where the fire started and heard a tremendous shout of help. I’d never heard a shout like it. I looked through the keyhole of my door and saw smoke in the hallway.
“I then dragged my four-year-old girl out from the house and we ran down through a huge amount of smoke to the street.
“First thing I saw when I got onto the street was a huge amount of fire coming out of the window. The woman whose house it is is about 60-years-old.
“She’s a music teacher and has lots of instruments in there.
“I just found out she managed to escape and is okay and so I’m very, very relieved. For a while I didn’t know if she was alive or dead.
“I think all the other neighbours were rescued by the firefighters.”
Duncan Osler, who took pictures of the scene of posted them on the social media site Twitter, described the blaze as “awful”.
Matt McPherson, the former student president at Edinburgh University, said that a “huge number of police and fire vehicles” were at Lothian Road.
He added: “@LBFire and@LBP_Police doing - as ever - a brave job.”
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said: “Firefighters have carried out a number of rescues, operations still ongoing.”