A FIRE that left a Kirkcaldy family homeless just before Christmas was started deliberately.
Fife Police have confirmed that the blaze, which started in the top floor flat of a three-storey building in Dunearn Drive, was a case of “wilful fire-raising”.
Residents, which included families with young children, were forced to evacuate their homes on December 23 after the fire took hold. It extensively damaged two flats after starting in a property on the top floor.
Luckily, no-one was injured in the incident, although a 64-year-old man was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Inspector Andrew Girdwood said: “This was a serious fire and following a joint investigation with Fife Fire and Rescue Service, we are now treating this as a case of wilful fire-raising.
“A full investigation is under way.”
Following the fire, nearby Dunearn Primary School was set up as a makeshift emergency centre for the residents as nine fire engines and 50 firefighters tackled the blaze which spread up into the roof of the building and could be seen from the outside.
But thanks to an appeal by Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance, businesses, supermarkets and individuals handed in donations of gifts to help salvage Christmas for those affected.
The Figueiredo family from Portugal had all their possessions destroyed when the fire swept through the flat above theirs. They managed to escape with just the clothes they were wearing at the time and went on to thank Fifers for their generosity after they were inundated with gifts to replace the presents they lost in the blaze.
Mr Torrance described the fire as “an atrocious act” and hoped the police would be able to track down whoever was involved.
He said: “For anyone to start a fire in a block of flats and put lives at risk is an atrocious act. The consequences could have been dire and they gave no thought at all to the people living in the flats.
“It was just lucky there were no fatalities. The damage to the property will cost a lot of money.”
He added: “I hope justice is quick and swift and that the police catch whoever is responsible.”
l Contact Fife Police on 0845 600 5702 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.