A hero neighbour has told how he pulled a woman from burning rubble after an explosion tore through her home in Edinburgh.  

Steven MacLennan was relaxing at home on Friday night when the noise of the blast in a nearby street shook his home.  

He ran to the source of the bang and found a house blown to rubble with a thick cloud of dust covering the street.  

One of the first people on the scene, he plunged into action when he heard a woman crying for help within the ruins of her home.  

READ MORE: Man dies after blast destroys house

Police say that one person, an 84-year-old man named locally as James Smith, died in the blast which shook Baberton Mains Avenue at 10.25pm on Friday night.  

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

The Herald:

Mr MacLennan, an army reservist with 20 years experience, said his training kicked in then he heard the cries for help.  

He said: “We were just watching TV when we heard this incredibly loud bang. All the doors and windows in the house shook. 

“I came out the house and there were quite a few people in the street already. Whatever it was had happened in a street round the corner, so I ran to find out what was going on.  

“It was a very weird feeling. Everything was so silent.” 

The 50-year-old described how he was confronted with a scene of devastation, as the house had been reduced to rubble in an instant. 

He could hear cries for help, and ran to the front of the building and was able to crawl into a gap in the debris.  

Inside, he found a woman pinned to the ground by rubble, with a fire starting to take hold nearby. But the quick-thinking part-time soldier was able to carry out an incredible rescue.  

He said: “I shouted at her to ask if she could feel the fire, and she said she could. There was a pipe which was gushing out water and I was able to bend it and direct the water onto the flames.  

“It was quite a flexible pipe, and I was able to douse the flames and put them out before they could get to her.  

“She was still pinned - I think there was a cupboard on her legs. I was able to get it off, but she was still trapped. I asked her if she could move her legs and she could, and she was able to crawl out.” 

The Herald: The scene of the blast this morning 

While Mr MacLennan was preforming the rescue, other neighbours had arrived and were able to help get the man injured in the blast to safety while also helping clear a path for he and the woman to get out.  

Emergency services then arrived and took the pair to hospital. It is understood that the 84-year-old who died was in an adjacent house, though this has not been confirmed.  

Police said there are no suspicious circumstances to the blast, which is being investigated. A number of homes were evacuated as a precaution and the road, remained closed on Saturday morning. 

READ MORE: Boy, 12, taken to hospital following 'explosion'

Mr MacLennan, a who runs self-catering properties in his day job while a reservist with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, said that he had taken part in training exercises which had given him some experience of sudden life-or-death situations.  

He said: “I’ve never experienced anything like that before, but we do training exercises where we don’t know what’s coming, and we learn first aid.  

“It was just carnage. People running about in chaos. Like being in a bubble. But my training did help.”