'It was pretty scary' - family recall moment their home went up in flames

Published: 8 Nov 2012 09:300 comments

A FAMILY have told of their dramatic escape as a horror inferno gutted their stately home near Clovenfords.

The fire broke out in Fairnilee House just after noon on Monday. Extensive damage was caused to the top two floors and roof as flames ripped through the historic building - which was built in 1904.

And around 40 firefighters spent almost three hours tackling the blaze. Local businesswoman Tracey Mason told how she fled her burning home.

Tracey, who runs Masons of Melrose and Tracey M Giftshop, said: "I hadn't noticed there was anything going on - I was downstairs in my office when the guy that works for us alerted me about the fire. It was pretty scary.

"He had went upstairs to discover the bathroom was in flames, and it eventually spread to nearby rooms.

"We didn't actually panic - it was more like, call the fire brigade, get the dogs, get everybody out - and out we went."

The house was evacuated safely - but two estate workers did attempt to rescue belongings from some of the burning rooms. Tracey added: "One of them fell down the stairs as she was escaping. She got a lot of smoke inhalation so we had to get an ambulance. They were really upset."

As well as fire damage other parts of the historic house have been affected by water damage.

Daughter Marsha, who is a Borders College art student, revealed: "There's only a little bit of water damage, but the firefighters are going to drill a hole into the floor so the water can get through and go onto the kitchen.

"But the bathroom, where the fire started, has been demolished and the woofers' room has been demolished - but I think the hallway might be okay."

It's not the first time fire has ravaged Fairnilee House. In 2009 a blaze ripped through the property due to an electric fault.

Neighbouring roads were closed as firefighters battled the blaze. Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said they were investigating the cause of the fire this week.

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