RESIDENTS were rescued and evacuated from a block of flats in Annan on Tuesday after a fire was discovered.
Fire crews and police rushed to 22 Lady Street after the blaze started in a communal area just after 11 am.
No-one was harmed in the incident but several families and children were initially trapped in the upstairs properties and unable to escape due to the fire on the ground floor and subsequent smoke through the building.
Posting on the Annandale Observer Facebook page, Elizabeth Duncan shared her experience, saying: “My house was full of smoke and my boys were upstairs and we were stuck and couldn’t get out. We are all lucky to be alive.”
Meanwhile, Lady Street was cordoned off with tape on both sides of the road, and closed to traffic, while the flames were extinguished by the Scottish Fire Rescue Service (SFRS), who then launched an investigation.
Sgt Scott McDowall, of Police Scotland, said: “We got a call to assist the SFRS about 11.20 am on Monday about a fire in a communal area in a block of flats in Lady Street.
“We attended and it had been quickly extinguished, however the fire commander believed it had been started deliberately.
“There are (very) positive lines of enquiry ongoing to identify who is responsible.”
He added: “Wheatley Homes South have been liaised with to temporarily move residents into new accommodation due to smoke damage.”
Stopgap homes have been found for the residents and a Wheatley spokesperson said: “We’re doing everything we can to help those families affected by the fire.
“We’ve offered the families alternative accommodation while we carry out thorough checks on their homes and the building.
“We will continue to keep in regular touch with them and support them in any way we can.”