22 July 2014

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to landlords and tenants after it attended a fire at a block of flats early this morning (22 July).

The fire broke out in a common close at the two-storey block in Blairgowrie.

Two appliances from Blairgowrie and one from Alyth attended the incident.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus used one hosereel jet to tackle the fire.

Seven people had to be rescued by firefighters and crews used a 9m ladder to lead them to safety through a first floor window.

Four flats were affected by heavy smoke logging and residents had to be provided with emergency accommodation due to the severity of the fire.

Group Manager Graham Smart warned: "This incident highlights the dangers associated with leaving combustible materials in common closes.

"If items are left near doors then escape routes can be blocked and on this occasion we had to help residents out using a ladder, as their normal escape route had been compromised.

"There is no doubt the fire escalated due to the fact that combustible materials had been stored in the close. This practice is something Scottish Fire and Rescue Service actively discourages."

He added: "Don't allow rubbish to block escape routes or store refuse by doors, windows or any other openings.

"Make sure wheelie bins or sacks are not placed against your home, under windows or next to gas or electric boxes as fire and smoke can quickly spread to buildings."

"This fire had the potential to be even more serious given the amount of combustible material in the close.”

In a bid to remove potential fire hazards, commercial buildings and non-domestic premises in Scotland are already forced to carry out a fire safety risk assessment under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, in conjunction with the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the enforcing authority has the power to prosecute the Dutyholder.