Woman killed and six hurt in two serious house fires

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A WOMAN died and six people were treated in hospital after two serious fires in the Lothians.

The 46-year-old woman suffered serious burns in a "very severe" fire at her flat, emergency services said. She died of her injuries in hospital.

The woman has been named locally as Julie Fergus.

One friend, who asked not to be named, lived in the street and had known her for several years.

She said: "I was sitting having my tea last night when I saw smoke coming down the street, there was that much it was literally coming down the street and there were flames coming out of the windows.

"A couple of neighbours tried to open the door. All the residents just got out then the fire brigade came and rushed into the building. It all happened so quickly.

"I knew Julie for a few years, she was a happy person, a nice lassie."

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named said he returned home to see the victim being brought out of the building.

He said: "She was covered in a blanket but I could see she was in a pretty bad state."

The blaze broke out shortly after 5pm yesterday, prompting a number of calls to firefighters from anxious members of the public.

Fire crews found the property well alight when they arrived at the scene in Wardieburn Street West, in Granton. Using breathing equipment, they rescued the woman from the property and treated her for burns. She was then taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she died a short time later.

Firefighters had to force entry to five neighbouring flats to make sure the blaze had not spread.

No-one else was injured in the blaze, which police are not treating as suspicious.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "At 17.08 on Sunday we received the first of seven calls to a flat at 7 Wardieburn Street West.

"Fire crews from Crewe Toll and McDonald Road arrived to find a very severe fire in a first floor flat.

"They made their way into the flat using breathing apparatus and high pressure hose reels and discovered and rescued a female, presumed to be in her forties.

"At the height of the blaze, more than 15 firefighters using six breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets forced entry to all five flats in the block to check for fire spread."

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said: "Around 5.15pm on Sunday we received a call regarding afire. The female occupier, 46, had sustained serious burn injuries. She was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she later succumbed to her injuries."

Meanwhile a family of six had to be treated for smoke inhalation after a blaze at their home in the early hours of this morning.

Fire crews were called to a property in Westfield near Bathgate at around 2.20am after a pan of food caused a blaze in the kitchen. The occupants managed to extinguish the fire before the crews arrived.

Three adults - two men aged 39 and 32, and a woman aged 32 - were treated along with a one-year-old boy, 13-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.