‘Deliberate’ Edinburgh house fires probed

Fire appliances were called to the scene. Picture: TSPL
Fire appliances were called to the scene. Picture: TSPL
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POLICE are investigating a spate of deliberate fires in Portobello which led to six blocks of flats being evacuated.

The stairwell fires all took place in Portobello, Edinburgh on Sunday and Monday.

The scene in Ramsay Place after the blaze. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The scene in Ramsay Place after the blaze. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Over just two hours on Sunday evening, between 4.55pm and 6.50pm, firefighters were called to four fires in different blocks of flats in Bath Street.

Around 40 minutes later officers were called to a similar report in Kings Place and on Monday they were called to a common stair in Ramsay Place at around 3pm.

No one was seriously injured but the flats had to be evacuated on each occasion, with some residents treated for smoke inhalation.

Police, who said all the fires were started deliberately, are now doing extra patrols in Portobello and have asked anyone who has information to contact them.

Inspector Roddy Hardy said: “Miraculously, no residents in any of the addresses affected suffered any injury. However, the consequences could have been far more serious if the fires had prevented people from escaping, or if they had spread further.

“Anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in or around these streets on Sunday or Monday is asked to contact police immediately.

“Similarly, anyone who can help us identify those responsible is also asked to get in touch.”

Police have issued a description of a young man they believe is responsible for two of the fires.

He is white, in his late teens to early-20s and has dark hair. At the time he was wearing dark trainers, dark jogging bottoms with a light stripe and a blue-grey hooded top with a logo.

Officers also want to speak to two people who may have seen him.

A female driver pulled up near the flats in King’s Place as a man ran out of the building, they said. She appeared to have a brief conversation with him shortly before fire engines arrived at the scene.

The following day the young man is believed to have run across Ramsay Place after leaving the common stair, crossing Mentone Avenue.

A woman with dark hair who was wearing a brown, three-quarter-length leather coat is thought to have entered Ramsay Place from Portobello High Street at the same time.

Anyone with information is can call Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.