Two people trapped inside home after fire breaks out at front door

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A 999 operator gave an elderly man life-saving advice as fire crews rushed to a blaze which which left him trapped in his home.

The 83-year-old and a 54-year old woman were trapped inside the house in Birniehill Terrace, Bathgate after a fire started at his front door on Monday night.

Control staff at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service stayed on the phone and gave the two occupants advice until a crew arrived.

The pair were alerted to the flames by a fitted smoke alarm shortly before 11.30pm – but could not escape the blaze.

A spokeswoman for the service said: “They were given fire survival guidance by control staff until the crew arrived.

“All of our staff are trained to give life preserving advice if you are trapped in a fire.

“They give reassurance until firefighters arrive.

“When giving advice we always ask what’s stopping you getting out, where are you in the house, what floor are you on and we always tell you to get to the window if you can, make yourself visible and  move away from fire or smoke.

“It was quite a short period time between the call being made and the firefighters arriving.

“The advice is critical and of extreme importance.”

Firemen used a ladder to reach the terrified occupants from a first floor window and brought the two down to safety.

The man was given oxygen by ambulance staff but did not require to be taken to hospital, and the woman escaped uninjured.

The spokeswoman added: “We attended a fire at a property in Bathgate just after 11.30pm on Monday night.

“Two people were trapped by a fire at the front door of their home and had to be rescued by a crew who used a ladder to reach them at a first floor window.

“The firemen used one high pressure hose reel and two breathing apparatus to extinguish the blaze.

“The man and woman did not need to go to hospital, but an elderly man was treated at the scene by ambulance staff.

A fire investigation team is now working to determine the cause of the blaze.

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating following a fire at a property in Birniehill Terrace, Bathgate around 11.40pm yesterday (22nd November).

“A 54-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man who were within the property were uninjured during the incident, which is being treated as suspicious.

“Officers are keen to speak with a male seen in the area at the time of the fire. He is described as white, between 25 and 30-years-old, 5ft 10ins tall with an athletic build and dark stubble on his face. He was wearing a black duffle-style hooded coat.

“Anyone who saw this man in the area or has any information that can assist with our investigation is asked to contact police immediately.”

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