Police probe flat blaze after vandal attack

Firefighters outside the flat at Oxgangs Place. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Firefighters outside the flat at Oxgangs Place. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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POLICE are investigating a fire which tore through a woman’s flat hours after officers were called to deal with a vandal attack at the property.

Around 20 firefighters from stations at Liberton and Tollcross were scrambled to tackle the blaze at the first-floor flat in Oxgangs Place yesterday morning.

Witnesses told how passers-by frantically knocked at the front doors of neighbours to help them evacuate amid fears the fire would spread.

It is not yet known whether the fire had been deliberately lit. It started in the bedroom area.

A team of firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control after forcing their way into the property.

The resident – a woman in her late 20s – had left the flat to go to work at around 7.30am, an hour before the flames took hold.

It later emerged that officers were called to her home at around 6.10pm on Monday after a report of vandalism.

Police and fire chiefs said it was “too early” to determine whether the fire had been started deliberately, but appealed for witnesses.

A passer-by, who asked not to be named, said: “I was driving to work when I saw the flames coming from the windows. It looked really bad. I got out and started to knock on doors to get people outside. I helped about six people down the stairwell.”

Four fire engines were called to the scene at about 8.30am after residents called 999.

Tom McGrath, group commander with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The fire appeared to have started in the bedroom area. It was extremely intense and very hot, but our firefighters worked well under arduous conditions to bring it quickly under control.

“There is extensive smoke damage to the property but the fire itself was mostly contained to the bedroom area.

“Fire investigation officers have been called to the scene to carry out an examination. It is too early to say how it was started and whether it was deliberate.

A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers were called to a property in Oxgangs Place at around 6.10pm on Monday in response to a report of a vandalism. Inquiries are ongoing.”

Inspector Nigel Thacker, from Corstorphine police station, said: “Thankfully no-one was hurt but we are obviously keen to find out how the fire started. Anyone who was in the area at the time or who has any information which may help with the investigation is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101.”