Firefighters kick down Aberdeen flat doors in bid to stop blaze reaching roof

Residents in an Aberdeen community had a lucky escape after a flat went up in flames.

No one was injured in the blaze, which began in a second-floor property on Mastrick Road.

However, the fire, which is thought to have started on the veranda of the flat, spread to the building’s roof space and caused some structural damage.

There was no one in the stricken apartment at the time the blaze broke out just after 11am yesterday, but residents in the block were evacuated from their homes.

Some even had their front doors kicked down by firefighters as they tried to reach the roof to stop the flames spreading further.

The surrounding area was cordoned off as 28 firefighters tackled the blaze.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) incident commander, group manager Ally Birkett, praised the work of his teams after they quickly brought the blaze under control and prevented further damage to the block.

“On arrival, the veranda area of the flat was well alight and that had penetrated into the roofspace,” he said.

“Crews were immediately deployed and worked very hard in difficult conditions and quickly brought the fire under control, preventing it from spreading to other flats and areas of the roofspace.

“There were no injuries but there has been some structural damage to the roof of the building.”

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Seven appliances were called to help quell the flames, and crews remained onsite for several hours after the flames had been extinguished, damping down the property as salvage operations began.

Fire chiefs are still working to establish the cause of the blaze and police officers remained at the scene well into the evening.

The alarm was initially raised by 18-year-old Leon Milne, who saw the smoke from his flat across the road.

“I phoned it in,” he said. “I was sitting in the living room and I saw smoke in the air but I didn’t think anything of it.

“My aunt shouted through to me that the smoke was coming from one of the buildings across the road. That’s when I phoned the fire brigade.

“It was really bad at one point.”

Gillian Finnie, 45, who also lives across from the affected building, initially thought the fire was inside her home because of the strong smell.

She revealed the smoke made it almost impossible to see out of her window.

“I was only aware of the fire when I had the smell of smoke in my kitchen, which is at the back of the flat.

“I thought my tumble dryer was on fire,” she said.

“I then heard sirens and looked out the front window and couldn’t even see the bus shelter. I thought it was coming from the third block so I messaged my chum who said it was across the road.

“It took a good two hours for the fire to be put out and the air to clear.

“My main concern was if anyone was injured but neighbours said everyone was okay.”

Residents were left stranded outside their homes with no idea when they would be able to return.

Jaime Smith, 30, who lives in a ground-floor flat in the block where the fire took place, only realised the building was on fire when her neighbour began hammering on her door.

She was relieved her children, aged five and six, were at school when the blaze took hold, but said she had no idea when she would be able to return.

She said she was concerned her family would be forced to spend time away from home. She said: “I was in my flat and I saw people outside. One of my neighbours came and banged on the door and told me to get out.

“There was smoke pouring out a window on the top floor.

“I was panicking because I have two kids and I need to keep a roof over their heads. I’m just glad they were at school at the time.

“I am worried about what we’re going to do if we can’t get back in.

“I asked the police and the fire brigade but they weren’t sure.”

Offshore worker James McDonald, 53, was returning from a fortnight away when he found emergency services had been forced to break into his flat to get to the block’s roofspace.

“I had just got back from offshore so it was a bit of a surprise to find the street cordoned off,” he said.

“By the time I got here they had already kicked through the door.”

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a man was treated for smoke inhalation after a kitchen fire at a city flat.

Fire crews were called to a fourth-floor property on Gerrard Street at 5pm. An SFRS spokeswoman said two appliances attended.