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Residents concern at string of fires

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By Euan Maxwell
Dumfries and West
Residents concern at string of fires

A WORRIED resident has told how she evacuated her home after a number of fires in the space of a week near her Dumfries property.

Police in the town are investigating a suspicious fire at a derelict farm building at College Mains Farm, College Mains Road, Dumfries last Wednesday. They say a blaze was discovered there about 2.30 pm and a group of young people were observed nearby at the time.

However, four more fires have been reported from concerned neighbours with some of the residents – who have various disabilities – deciding they didn’t feel safe and therefore leaving their properties for a short period.

Ellie Gill, who stays approximately ten metres away from the barn at Carnation Crescent, told the Dumfries Courier the ordeal has caused her and others “sleepless nights”.

She said: “The ordeal started last Wednesday afternoon. The fire service were called out and extinguished the flames.

“At around 4.45pm, the barn was set alight again. This has happened again on Thursday night, Friday night which was the worst and we felt that unsafe we evacuated the flats.

“We decided to evacuate ourselves as we have a buddy system here, to ensure we all get out safely in the event of a fire.

“The barn right next to us had flames coming out the roof. The derelict farmhouse and the barns are often used by youths, especially during the summer.

“There was nothing on Saturday night but on Sunday and Monday evening it happened again. On Monday, the fifth was started with some kind of small explosive to start it.

“Each time the fire service came out to extinguish flames.

“It has caused sleepless nights for us, wondering if and when the next one will happen or if whoever is doing this has given up or become bored. I don’t believe he’s been caught.

“We all have varying health conditions here and yet no one seems particularly that bothered of the fear that it has caused for some of us here.”

She added: “That’s been Tuesday and Wednesday that have been incident free this week. I’m hoping it stays that way.

“Whoever is doing this also had the nerve to egg one of the flats earlier. Whoever is doing this needs to be reported if anyone does know anything. Whoever is setting fires off, really needs help.

“It’s arson and it could cost lives.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “An investigation is under way following incidents of fire-raising in College Mains Road, Dumfries and we are appealing for anyone with information to contact us.

“We are working closely with our colleagues in the Fire Service and material has been removed from the location.

“Enquiries remain ongoing to identify those responsible.”

If you have any information about those responsible for starting the fires contact police on 101.

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