Milngavie Fire Station chief hits out at fire starters

YOU’RE putting lives at risk - that was the warning this week from firefighters following a spate of fires started deliberately.

Large recycling bins were pulled over by intruders at Bearsden Academy on Monday at about 7.45pm and the contents set alight.

About seven or eight male and female youths were later seen on CCTV footage entering the school premises at about the same time.

In a separate incident a refuse bin, at the back of The Fraser Centre on Douglas Street, was set on fire on Sunday at about 9.45pm.

Milngavie station commander Steven Harper said: “We suspect that this was caused deliberately, although there is always the chance that someone threw their cigarette butt into the bin.

“The bin was completely destroyed, it had melted, but luckily the contents hadn’t caught on fire yet.

“It was full of rubbish, so it’s possible this had the potential to have been much worse. The flames could have spread to The Fraser Centre or Marks and Spencer, but luckily our officers got there quickly to prevent that.

“These types of secondary fires are often regarded as not being so serious as a blaze of a building or a house.

“However, a rubbish fire can spread to nearby premises quickly as they are hard to control.”

The fire chief continued: “We are asking for help from the public to look out for deliberate fires and help us catch the culprits.

“Dry grass and heathland, fly-tipped waste and overflowing refuse skips or bins, as well as derelict buildings, are all ripe targets with a ready source of materials to burn.

“The destruction that’s caused can cost the community quite a lot of money and we hope to minimise this.

“During the school summer holidays deliberate fires account for more than 60 per cent of all of our emergency fire attendances.

“We are reminding people that it is an offence to light a fire in a public place that alarms, annoys or endangers people or property and people responsible may face prosecution.”

Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious going on at Bearsden Academy on the night of the bin fire to contact them on 0141 532 4000.

Members of the public are also being asked to report fly-tipping or accumulations of rubbish to East Dunbartonshire Council on 0141 578 8000 or the National Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0845 230 40 90.