Police and the fire service are warning the public of the dangers of entering insecure buildings and of wilful fire-raising following a blaze in East Lothian last night (Thursday).
Officers were called to a property on Redburn Road, Prestonpans, at about 8.05pm after criminals entered the derelict building and started setting fire to discarded rubbish and old carpets.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service sent two appliances from Musselburgh and Tranent and quickly brought the fire under control.
No one was injured, but the blaze caused extensive damage to the roof of the building.
Enquiries into the fire are ongoing and Inspector Andrew Harborow, of Police Scotland, said: “Thankfully no one was harmed as a result of this incident, but wilful fire-raising is both irresponsible and highly dangerous.
“There are very often hidden dangers associated with derelict buildings and we would urge the public to refrain from entering any properties that are not occupied.”
Tam McGrath, group manager at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, pointed out that his crews have been called to the property on Redburn Road on a number of previous occasions and echoed the warnings about deliberate fire setting.
He said: “Derelict buildings are often unsafe, whether due to the presence of hazardous materials or structural issues and pose a real danger to anyone entering.
“Fires at such premises pose a significant safety issues for emergency responders attending to deal with incidents within. “Deliberate fire setting also has an unwanted and sometimes serious impact on the local community due to the smoke given off.
“The important issue is that young people should understand the dangers of lighting fires both to themselves and others.
“They should also be aware of the serious dangers of entering derelict property and setting fires within those properties.
“On many occasions, we have unfortunately seen the results of a prank or game go tragically wrong and someone ends up seriously injured or indeed loses their life.”
Anyone with information should contact police immediately on 101 or, alternatively, phone the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Residents seeking further advice on keeping their home safe from fire can contact the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for a free home safety visit on 0800 0731 999, texting ‘check’ to 61611 or visiting www.firescotland.gov.uk