A large explosion destroyed a house in Edinburgh and left two people trapped under the rubble on Friday night. Emergency services were called to the scene at Baberton Mains Avenue at around 10.25pm and managed to rescue the two victims after a three-hour operation. The cause of the blast is still under investigation.
Explosion heard across the city
The explosion was so powerful that it was heard across the city and shattered windows of nearby properties. Residents described hearing a loud bang and feeling their houses shake. Some said they thought it was a bomb or an earthquake.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “It was terrifying. I heard a huge boom and then saw flames and smoke. I thought it was a terrorist attack or something. I ran outside and saw the house was completely gone. There was debris everywhere and people screaming.”
Another neighbour, John Smith, said: “I was watching TV when I heard the explosion. It sounded like a plane had crashed. I looked out of the window and saw the house on fire. It was a horrible sight. I could see people trapped under the rubble and trying to get out. I called 999 and tried to help as much as I could.”
Rescue operation and casualties
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) sent nine appliances and specialist teams to the scene, including urban search and rescue dogs. They worked with Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service to locate and free the two people who were trapped under the rubble.
The two victims, a man and a woman, were taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh with serious injuries. Their condition is not known at this stage. No other casualties were reported.
SFRS area commander Roddie Keith praised the efforts of the emergency services and the local community. He said: “This was a challenging and complex incident that required a multi-agency response. I would like to thank all the crews and partners who attended and worked tirelessly to rescue the two people who were trapped. I would also like to thank the local residents for their support and cooperation during this difficult time.”
Investigation and support
The cause of the explosion is still unknown and a joint investigation by SFRS and Police Scotland is underway. Gas engineers have been at the scene to check the safety of the supply and the surrounding area.
The house that was destroyed by the blast was a semi-detached property and the adjoining house was also badly damaged. Several other properties in the street were affected by the blast and some residents were evacuated as a precaution.
South Ayrshire Council has set up a support centre at the Kincaidston Community Pavillion for those who have been displaced or affected by the incident. The council said it had been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public and local businesses who have donated food, clothing and other essentials. Anyone who needs assistance or wants to make a donation can contact the council on 0300 123 0900.