Town’s weekend of malicious fires ...

3111050 SSFF peter greig 'location of the fire at Victoria Linen Works of Peter Greig & Co Ltd, St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy
3111050 SSFF peter greig 'location of the fire at Victoria Linen Works of Peter Greig & Co Ltd, St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy

FIRE offficers have hit out at arsonists after a series of malicious fires in Kirkcaldy over the weekend.

Three incidents were reported in quick succession in a factory, a disused church and a local park, putting pressure on the service.

The fires also sparked police investigations with appeals for witnesses to come forward.

The drama started when a fire crew was called to Beveridge Park to tackle three bins which had been set alight at around 10.20 p.m.

Less than an hour later fire engines from Kirkcaldy and Methil responded to a blaze at a factory on St Clair Street.

The fire, in the roof of the Peter Greig & Co building, which manufactures linen, took firefighters over five hours to control after crews discovered asbestos.

Thermal imaging

A decontamination team was called in, while an aerial rescue platform and thermal imaging equipment was also used.

Luckily, the overall damage to the building, parts of which date back to 1825, was minimal, meaning work resumed as normal.

While crews were still at the scene, a fire was started deliberately at Barony Church in Dysart.

The 2 a.m. call saw two engines spend around two hours bringing it under control and and making the property safe.

Bert Stewart, group manager operations delivery at Fife Fire and Rescue, said: “These incidents are not untypical of the types of fire we deal with routinely, but they can, depending on other activity, put pressure on what is a finite resource.

“We have been very successful in delivering community fire safety education, with a resulting drop in fires.

‘‘But, there are still a minority who appear to go out their way to cause problems by wilful fire-raising.

Delayed response

‘‘Every time a fire engine is sent to a fire which has been set maliciously - even litter bin fires - it deprives the community of the service for a significant period.

‘‘This may mean a delayed response to a serious fire, such as a house fire with people trapped.”

Angus Nicholl, managing director, said on Tuesday: “I was extremely concerned when I got the call but luckily we are not going to lose any time.

‘‘We were due to get back up and running on Wednesday after closing for the Fair Fortnight, and that is still on course.

“The fire brigade were exemplary - I would like to extend my thanks to them.“

Mr Nicholl added that the asbestos discovered during the blaze has now been dealt with.

Fife Police have said they are treating it as malicious, and there have been reports of people on the roof of the building previously.

l Police have asked anyone with any information to come forward by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.