POLICE are hunting a suspected teen fireraiser after a double-decker bus was deliberately set alight.
Passengers had to be evacuated from the Lothian Buses service 4 after it erupted in flames in Oxgangs Road at around 10.30pm on Monday.
Emergency services raced to the scene after the alarm was raised by the bus driver.
Shortly before the incident was reported, a youth was seen getting off the bus next to Oxgangs Library, and police are keen to track down the youngster after admitting they felt the fire had been started deliberately.
The youngster was described as white, aged 14 to 16 years, and wearing a dark hooded top.
It is understood three passengers were on board the bus at the time, and all were safely evacuated by the driver, who was praised by Lothian Buses for his actions.
Detective Inspector Rory Hamilton said: “The bus has suffered extensive damage as a result of this fire, which we believe was started deliberately.
“Luckily no-one was injured as a result of this reckless act.
“We are appealing to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity on the number 4 bus or in the area of Oxgangs Road from 10.30pm on Monday night, when the fire was reported, to contact police.
“Anyone else who has
information that they think can assist our inquiries should also get in touch.”
Firefighters from Liberton and Sighthill using breathing apparatus and two high pressure hose reels tackled the blaze and the road was closed for a short time while the fire was extinguished.
Residents captured several images of the blazing bus and the pictures soon appeared on social media websites.
Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor Jason Rust, who represents Oxgangs, said: “This was a stupid and reckless act and I would urge anyone with information to come forward. The safety of others was compromised and there could potentially have been serious injury.”
Bus chiefs praised the “brave” actions of the driver.
Ian Craig, chief executive of Lothian Buses, said: “We are fully co-operating with the police and their investigation into an incident which saw a service 4 bus set on fire in the Oxgangs area.
“We would like to thank the driver for his brave actions in trying to bring the fire under control, while also ensuring the safety of his passengers.”
Fire investigators are now poring over the wreckage while police study CCTV images from the area in an attempt to find the cause of the blaze.
A Fire Scotland spokeswoman said: “Four personnel in breathing apparatus used a high pressure hose reel to bring the fire under control. Our investigation team has been out to look into the cause of the fire. It’s too early to say what caused the fire.”
Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101, or make an anonymous report through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.