Fire thugs set family’s door alight as they slept

Police Scotland are appealing for witnesses. Picture: Hemedia

Police Scotland are appealing for witnesses. Picture: Hemedia

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A GRANDMOTHER was forced to flee her home with two young children after “mindless” fireraisers sprayed accelerant on her front door and set it alight.

The woman had been asleep at her Jubilee Road address in Whitburn when she was awakened by the sound of a smoke detector at around 3am on Sunday.

She had to rouse her 14-year-old grandson and grab her 11-month-old great-grandson before running to safety.

The deliberate blaze was sparked just hours before a similar incident in Granton, where three-year-old Lexi White had to be lowered to safety from a window after a lit wheelie bin was pushed up against the front door of the property she was in at Royston Mains Crescent.

Passing binmen noticed the flames before Lexi was dropped by her mother, Leanne Cottier, 35, into their arms.

Just four-and-a-half hours earlier, fire crews raced to Whitburn to find the flames had been quickly extinguished by the terrified grandmother with help from neighbours. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Police have now launched an appeal for witnesses and said the grandmother and the children had a lucky escape.

Detective Constable Richard Thompson from Police Scotland said: “This was an apparent unprovoked and motiveless attack. Although the fire was brought under control quickly, the consequences of such a reckless act could have been far more serious.

“Fire can spread quickly and it is fortunate the flames were quickly extinguished before they took hold throughout the house and adjacent premises.”

West Lothian councillor for Bathgate Harry Cartmill said: “This sounds dreadful. It could have been a lot worse.”

After the fire in Royston Mains Crescent, Ms Cottie told the Evening News that she had been the victim of a hate campaign and had received death threats in recent weeks.

She insisted her family would not return to their home until the culprit was caught.

She said: “The people who have done this are the scum of the Earth. The house was full of smoke.

“I scooped up Lexi and carried her to the bedroom window and handed her to the men, one of them got on the other’s shoulders to catch her.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet. What sort of a person would do this?”

Anyone with any information about the fire is asked to call Crimestoppers.