Fire chiefs have blasted inconsiderate motorists who forced firefighters attending a house fire in Edinburgh to abandon their fire appliances and walk to the incident earlier this week.

Fire crews from Tollcross fire station were called to a report of a house alight at Springvalley Terrace, Edinburgh, in the early hours of the morning on 15 September.

Firefighters had to stop the appliances at the start of the street and proceed on foot, carrying their equipment, because of double parking at the corner of the street and at several points along the roadway.

Head of Operations at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service John Dickie said:

“It is only as a result of the determination of the firefighters to get to the incident and some luck that there was not a fire fatality this morning. How would you feel if you were one of the people who double-parked in Springvalley Terrace last night and you heard that news today?

“The double parking delayed our ability to efficiently deploy our resources at the incident. We only managed to get one fire appliance to the incident and then only just, we were unable to get the height appliance anywhere near the tenement.

“Had the fire been any further up the street we would have been unable to get the appliances any further without causing damage to several double parked cars and the appliances.

“This is a street we regularly have access issues with. In the past, we have carried out leaflet drops to residents about parking issues and we do regular public information campaigns about the dangers of blocking access routes for the emergency services. It is totally unacceptable and would urge people to stop and think before they take the easy option and leave a car double-parked. It could cost lives.”

The fire, in the dining room of a ground floor flat in a four-storey tenement, was extinguished and an 83-year-old man was given oxygen therapy by firefighters. He did not require hospital treatment