Anger after pensioner’s fall

editorial image

A family are furious after an elderly relative suffered 
serious injuries in the
 aftermath of a wilful
fire-raising.

They claim the council 
ignored their plea that the 
debris left behind was 
dangerous.

Liz Harris ended up in agony after thugs torched council-owned 
lock-up garages behind her home in Kirkintilloch.

She suffered a serious fracture to her left hand and lacerations to her face and head when she tripped on the debris left 
behind – A MONTH later.

Her daughter April Owens is furious East Dunbartonshire Council failed to clear up the area despite her mum reporting the dangers to the council two days after the fire.

The two lock-ups behind the homes on Loch Road were razed to the ground in the blaze around 9.30pm on 
Friday, June 3.

It took the fire service two hours to bring it under control. Police said on Monday their inquiries were continuing into the fire which was started deliberately

Mrs Harris, whose back garden opens on to the area concerned, tripped on debris when she got out of a car 
driven by her daughter on 
Saturday, July 9.

She had to be taken by 
ambulance to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she underwent an operation to her hand and needed plastic surgery for a wound to her head.

April, who has had to move in with her mum to care for her after she was released from hospital, told the Herald: “This has been a horrendous experience for my mum.

“As well as the physical injuries, the biggest thing for her has been the emotional trauma. I am struggling to cope myself. It’s disgraceful that the council left it so long to do anything. This is not a private road and this was an accident waiting to happen.

“Children play in this area and not even one sign was put up saying it was dangerous.”

One person living nearby told the Herald fly-tippers dumping rubbish had added to the problem. Council workmen finally began clearing up the area last week.

On Friday, Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive, Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said: “We regret to hear Mrs Harris has injured herself and we hope she has a speedy recovery.

“It would seem some residents have built driveways at the end of back gardens and used the garage site entrance as access to these driveways, but we have no record of access rights being granted over the land in question for this.

“This area should only be used for accessing the garages which the council lease and was never intended to be an access road for residents’ driveways or gardens.

“Due to the dwindling 
interest in remaining garages, the Council is clearing the area and will consult future options with neighbours.”

When pressed by the Herald about the safety aspect for the public after the fire, Mr Glen added: “As clearly stated in the terms of their lease, it is the responsibility of the tenants who lease the garages from the Council to clear the debris left behindafter the fire.

“Due to difficulties in contacting some tenants the Council is now clearing the area on their behalf due to our concerns over health 
and safety.”