Edinburgh explosion: Pensioner, 84, dies in horror blast as hero father pulls woman from rubble

Explosion was heard miles from blast side with neighbours reporting their homes were shaking

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Saturday 02 December 2023 18:53 GMT
Edinburgh house reduced to rubble after deadly explosion

An 84-year-old man has died following an explosion at a house in the Baberton area of Edinburgh.

Police Scotland confirmed reports were received of an eruption at an address on Baberton Mains Avenue at 10.25pm on Friday.

A 43-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man were taken to hospital but their condition is unknown.

An 84-year-old man has died after an explosion at a house in Baberton, Edinburgh

Local Ross Aitchison said he pulled a woman from the rubble of the explosion with the help of another neighbour.

His son Ben told EdinburghLive that his father had called him at 10.26pm to ask him if he heard “that big bang”.

Mr Aictchison said his father only lives “20-30 seconds” away from the scene of the incident so ran over to see what had happened.

He said: “By the time I got to where he was he had already got the woman out the house with another person’s help and luckily she was still alive.”

The scene on Baberton Mains Avenue following the fatal explosion

Pictures of the scene show a house completely ripped apart with the building’s frame demolished as it lay in pieces all over the street.

Neighbours revealed they could feel their homes shaking, while another person tweeted that they had heard the blast from inside a movie theatre in the nearby suburb of Wester Hailes.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, some locals reported hearing the explosion as far away as Gilmerton, a suburb on the fringe of Edinburgh and miles from the blast site.

Police Scotland said: “Around 10.25pm on Friday,1 December 2023, we were called to reports of an explosion at a property on Baberton Mains Avenue in Edinburgh.

“Emergency services are at the scene, and we would advise people to avoid the area at this time.”

Locals reported hearing the blast miles away

A number of homes were evacuated as a precaution and the road, Baberton Mains Avenue, remained closed on Saturday morning.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said five appliances had attended and two people had been rescued from the ruins of the home before their arrival.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 10.26pm on Friday 1 December to reports of a gas explosion affecting residential properties on Baberton Mains Avenue in Edinburgh.

“Operations control mobilised five fire appliances and specialist resources to the area where firefighters worked to make the area safe.

“Two casualties were rescued prior to our arrival, and the crews remain on scene.”

A spokeswoman for gas distributor SGN said the body was brought in to assist emergency services and “ensure the immediate vicinity” was “made safe”, adding it was “too early to speculate” on the cause of the explosion.

“At around 10.45pm last night, we received a request to assist the emergency services following reports of a serious explosion in Baberton, Edinburgh,” the spokeswoman said.

“Our engineers worked with the emergency services to ensure the immediate vicinity in Baberton Mains Avenue was made safe in our role as the gas emergency service.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family of the man who has tragically died as well as those who have been injured.

“While it is too early to speculate as to what has happened, we are working closely with the authorities to help discover the cause.”

Sue Webber, a Scottish Tory MSP for the Lothian region, wrote on social media: “Such tragic news, in such a close community.

“Thank you to all the emergency services that attended. My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this incident.”

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