Hunt after yobs set fire to flat

POLICE were today hunting yobs who set fire to a family home leaving them trapped inside screaming for help.

The flat in Pilton Avenue

The family were forced to take refuge in an upstairs bedroom after a Lucozade bottle containing a flammable substance was pushed through their letterbox, sparking a blaze in the hall of their semi-detached home on Pilton Avenue, residents said last night.

Neighbour Owen Tait, 17, heard screams and raised the alarm at around 8.45pm.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His granddad John Tait, 62, rushed next door and knocked the Molotov cocktail from the burning letterbox, preventing it from spreading further, but the blaze inside had already caused plastic doors to melt, flooding the family home with toxic fumes.

Emergency services rushed to the scene as John, a handy man at nearby Clermiston House care home, Owen, and a neighbour were able to get the dad to drop the keys from the upstairs window to open the door and use a fire extinguisher to halt the blaze.

Today, Linda Tait, Owen's grandmother, and a nurse at St Columba's Hospice, told the Evening News a couple lived next door with their two foster children.

"It's just unbelievable. Who would set fire to a house with two young children in? It's just as well Owen was there. He said he could hear screaming and John rushed downstairs.

"He managed to knock the bottle out of the letterbox, which was half inside. I dialled 999. John opened the door, I think. Our next door neighbour Alan brought out a fire extinguisher and sprayed it inside to stop it spreading.

"But there was PVC doors inside somewhere and they were melting. There were toxic fumes. It was horrific.

"It seems like a Lucozade bottle was set on fire and pushed through the letterbox. It was here on the path until the fire brigade took it way to test it. I've been here 34 years and nothing has ever happened like this. The fire brigade were there within three minutes and they just rushed straight in."

Linda said scores of firefighters arrived within minutes and rushed into the blaze, leading the family out shortly after."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Owen, a recent Telford College graduate, said: "I heard people in the next flat trying to get out.

"They were screaming. I said to granddad they were screaming for help. He ran down and knocked the bottle out of the door. I ran downstairs because I couldn't see what was happening.

"They opened the door and used the fire extinguisher. It happened so quickly. I'm just glad everyone was OK."

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: "We had three pumping appliances, one height appliance and a fire investigation unit on the scene, with about 18 firefighters. There were three occupants in the upper villa flat. Two firefighters comforted them until the smoke cleared and they were taken to safety."They were treated at the scene but didn't require to go to hospital."

A police spokesman said: "We are investigating a suspicious fire-raising that happened at a property on Pilton Avenue at around 8:45pm yesterday.

"Anyone who was in the area at the time and noticed any suspicious activity should contact police immediately."

Related topics: