A mum has told how she tackled a fire at an Aberdeen high-rise which left residents fearing for their lives.
Chloe Milne leapt into action when she discovered flames in the landing on the 18th floor of Northsea Court in Seaton on Wednesday night.
She battled past thick smoke to get an extinguisher out of her flat while with her six-year-old daughter.
Four fire crews and a height reach appliance also scrambled to the scene when they were alerted that a bin bag filled with cans was on fire.
It comes after emergency services were called to the same high-rise on September 29 after a sofa, which had been left on a 16th-floor landing to be uplifted, was also found alight.
Now residents are calling for CCTV cameras to be fitted in landings throughout the building.
Chloe, 33, who lives on the 18th floor of Northsea Court, explained how the drama unfolded after she had popped downstairs to collect a delivery.
She said: “I went down to collect an order and when I came back up, the lift door opened and the fire was right in front of us.
“A bin bag had been set on fire and it was about the size of a household bin.
“Initially when the door opened I could just see the initial smoke rising but it filled up fast because it was plastic burning. There was nowhere for it to go.
“Within around two minutes the lobby was filled with smoke.
“We had to run past the fire to get to the flat and reach the extinguisher. My daughter was shouting ‘I can’t go, I can’t breathe’ and I told her to hold her breath until she got to the door.
“I think it only took around about two or three minutes to put it out but it felt longer.”
Although there are CCTV cameras installed on the ground floor and in lifts, residents of Northsea Court are calling for further cameras to be installed.
Chloe added: “The police said to me that they can’t open a criminal case because there isn’t enough evidence to suggest it was malicious because there is no CCTV on the landings.
“Because we live here, we know what happens and know how the neighbours operate. Nobody leaves rubbish, nobody smokes up here, as far as I know, nobody leaves piles of Tennant’s cans outside.
“Holly didn’t sleep until 3am because she was worried about there being another fire and she keeps asking to move house.
“She is upset and concerned because after the last fire, we told her there wouldn’t be another one but there was.
“Everybody thought they could just let the first fire slide because it could’ve been an accident, but a similar thing happening three weeks later is too much of a coincidence.
“When the last fire happened there was so much smoke from the sofa that it travelled up to the two floors above and we couldn’t even open our front doors because of the smoke.
“We’ve been on edge wondering if there will be another fire.”
Josh Marr lives on the 16th floor of Northsea Court.
His partner, Chantelle Main, was visiting at the time of the first fire on the floor on September 29.
The pair are also calling for CCTV to be installed in the landings.
He said: “We were fast asleep and we were woken up by the fire alarms.
“We opened the living room door and saw the lobby and living rooms were starting to fill up with smoke.
“We started freaking out. We wrapped tea towels round our face, put the cat in the box, and ran out our door.
“We were told to stay inside by the fire brigade. It was a really scary situation, we were fearing for our lives.
“There is only CCTV in the lift and that’s the only place you can see what people are doing in the building.
“Getting cameras in the landings would fix the problem I’m sure because they would know what happened.”
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart called for an “urgent fire review” of the building.
He said: “I’m disappointed to hear that there has been yet another fire in Northsea Court.
“It was just Wednesday afternoon that I received a number of assurances from the council about Northsea Court, which have clearly failed to make a difference.
“There needs to be a full and urgent fire safety review of this building. The council needs to ensure that everything that can be done to combat fires in this building is being done.
“They need to do this and communicate with the residents, who are rightly worried about this situation.”
He added: “I’m once again thankful to the fire service for their efforts in extinguishing this fire.”
Local senior officer for Aberdeen City, Bruce Farquharson, said: “We were alerted at 7.47pm on Wednesday, October 21, to reports of a fire in a communal landing at Northsea Court, Seaton Crescent, Aberdeen.
“We were alerted by the building’s automated alarm system and Operations Control immediately mobilised four appliances and one aerial rescue pump to attend a fire in the communal landing of the 18th floor of the building.
“When firefighters arrived, the rubbish which had been on fire had been extinguished by a resident with a fire extinguisher.
“Firefighters remained on the scene and ensured the area was made safe before they left.
“There were no reported casualties.
“We would like to remind all residents who live in homes where there are communal areas to ensure that these spaces are kept clear of any potential hazards.
“Make sure stairs, landings and corridors are free of obstacles and if you have arranged for items to be taken away, do not leave these in common areas and dispose of all rubbish properly.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said the latest fire is not being treated as suspicious because there was nothing to suggest it was caused wilfully.
An investigation is still ongoing into the cause of the fire in September.
She said: “Around 7.55 pm on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, emergency services attended a report of a fire within a stairwell at Northsea Court, Seaton Crescent, Aberdeen.
“No-one was injured as a result of the fire which is not being treated as suspicious.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council said: “Northsea Court has an automated heat and smoke system which connects directly to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service so firefighters are alerted and are on the scene to deal with any fire as soon as possible.
“There is CCTV on the ground floor of the high-rise and police officers can view this if deemed necessary.
“We would remind residents not to leave anything flammable including rubbish and items such as furniture in communal areas as it poses a fire risk and can hamper firefighters’ access in buildings.”