Fire fears

Seven call-outs in just one day

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Ex­tra po­lice and com­mu­nity war­dens will be out in West­burn af­ter thugs caused seven fires in just one day in the area.

Of­fi­cers at the Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Cen­tre in Cly­desmill say kids are set­ting fire to rub­bish that has been il­le­gally dumped in the area.

Ex­tra po­lice and com­mu­nity war­dens will be out in West­burn af­ter yobs caused seven fires in just one day in the area.

The Re­former re­ported last week that one blaze sent plumes of black smoke over the Cam­bus­lang area on Sun­day, May 7.

Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue have now revealed an­other half dozen incidents took place nearby that day.

They met with their col­leagues at Po­lice Scot­land and South La­nark­shire Coun­cil last week to dis­cuss the is­sue.

The worst af­fected area is the va­cant sec­tion of land to the north of West­burn Road.

It is be­lieved il­le­gal dump­ing is tak­ing place in the area with kids then set­ting fire to the piles.

Robert Deans, sta­tion man­ager at the Cly­desmill Fire Sta­tion, warned both the il­le­gal dump­ing and fir­erais­ing was putting lives at risk.

He said: “We are talk­ing about two ap­pli­ances go­ing to each in­ci­dent with 10 fire­fight­ers, which is a sig­nif­i­cant re­source and cost for Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue.

“I don’t be­lieve the dump­ing and fires are re­lated. You would not dump rub­bish and then draw at­ten­tion to it by set­ting fire to it. The dump­ing is tak­ing place and then the kids are set­ting fire to it.

“Those re­spon­si­ble for the fires are putting them­selves in dan­ger. They do not know what is in that rub­bish.

“If there is heavy black smoke then it could be toxic and the fire could spread very quickly.

“Seven call-outs is an ex­cep­tion­ally high num­ber.”

Of­fi­cers at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil are work­ing to es­tab­lish who owns the land so they can make it more se­cure.

Daniel Lowe, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of hous­ing and tech­ni­cal re­sources, said: “South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s com­mu­nity war­dens are aware of sev­eral incidents of de­lib­er­ate fire rais­ing within the West­burn area and have re­sponded with ad­di­tional tar­geted pa­trols in the area to as­sist in tack­ling this anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

“South La­nark­shire Coun­cil is work­ing closely with its part­ners in Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue and Po­lice Scot­land to en­sure com­mu­ni­ties are safe and, if iden­ti­fied, will deal ro­bustly with those re­spon­si­ble for such anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.”

A spokesman for Ruther­glen po­lice con­firmed they were aware of the prob­lems at West­burn.

They said: “Po­lice Scot­land are cur­rently in­volved with a num­ber of agen­cies to ad­dress the re­cent wil­ful fire-rais­ing incidents at West­burn. A multi-agency part­ner meet­ing has taken place, and we will be work­ing closely with Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue, South La­nark­shire Coun­cil and their Land Ser­vices di­vi­sion to ad­dress the is­sue.

“Wil­ful fire-rais­ing is a crime, even if it is rub­bish which is be­ing set alight. I would ask that par­ents ed­u­cate their chil­dren in this re­gard, and we will re­in­force the mes­sage with a se­ries of vis­its to lo­cal schools.

“Ex­tra pa­trols are now in place in the vicin­ity. Mem­bers of the pub­lic are asked to re­port any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to Po­lice 101, any in­stances of dump­ing to South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, and any fires to 999.”

If there is heavy black smoke then it could be toxic


Warn­ingS­ta­tion man­ager Robert Deans says lives are be­ing put at risk in the West­burn area be­cause of de­lib­er­ate fires

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