Pet dog killed as blaze guts house

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POLICE are investigating after a house was destroyed in a blaze which led to the death of a family pet.

The property, in Bathgate, is thought to have been doused in a flammable liquid, such as petrol, and torched while the occupants were out. Sadly, their Staffordshire bull terrier was trapped in the house and was unable to escape.

Police and forensic officers are continuing to investigate the blaze in Anne Street, which completely gutted the house.

Neighbours reported spotting large flames just before 8pm on Thursday, which one nearby resident described as an “inferno”.

He said: “I was just minding my dog when I heard this huge bang. I looked out the window and saw the flames all over the side of the house and the windows smashed. There were around three big bangs in total. You could see that the fire had got the whole property, it was an inferno.”

One source on the investigation team said police would be examining whether there had been any reports of trouble between the family and others in the area.

The source said: “There’s little doubt this fire was set on purpose and they’ve used something such as petrol to make sure it went up. It looks like it was destroyed in minutes, all the windows were taken out.”

Police said they were appealing for witnesses and that inquiries were ongoing to determine the circumstances surrounding the fire.

A police spokesman said: “Fortunately the occupants were not injured, although they are deeply upset at the death of their pet dog.

“We are currently working alongside Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service to establish what happened and anyone with information that can assist our enquiries is asked to contact police immediately.”

A fire service spokeswoman explained that six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had tackled the blaze over a two-hour period. Conditions at the scene were very difficult due to extremely hot temperatures inside the house.

She said: “Three appliances were mobilised to the property, which was well alight on arrival. Fire investigation officers were examining the scene with police to establish how the blaze started. We are continuing to investigate the incident, but early indications suggest it may have been suspicious.”

The family was too upset to comment.