Firefighters battled a blaze in a house in Alness yesterday after fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom of a council-owned property.
The residents, named locally as Isobel and Thomas Grant, were not at home when the rear bedroom of their semi-detached property in the Shillinghill area was engulfed in flames at around 10.15am, causing very little damage to the remainder of the upper floor.
Neighbours of the couple remarked upon seeing smoke bellowing from the property and hearing a smoke alarm going off shortly after 10am.
Edward Discombe, 39, a nearby neighbour said: “All I heard was the smoke alarm going off. I wasn’t long up so I just thought it was someone’s alarm going off. I came outside into the back garden and saw the smoke. It’s a sin because they are just a wee old couple.”
A close neighbour, who did not wish to be named, added: “I was away to have a bath and I got a terrible smell. I came running down the stairs and when I came down I saw the smoke.
“I was frightened for my life, everyone came to help and get me out of here. I had to get out, I was absolutely petrified. It’s going to take a while to get over it. I can’t stop shaking.
“They are a really nice couple. They have been really good to me. If I am ill, they go and get shopping for me. I am devastated for them, they are really nice people. It’s a shame.”
The fire service was paged at 10.17am dispatching two appliances to the scene, one from Invergordan and Dingwall, using four pieces of breathing apparatus and two hose jets to extinguish the flames.
The attending fire Officer at the scene said: “We had two fire appliances here and one fire officer to put out a fire in the bedroom. We have made the house safe and handed it back to the council.”