Concerns raised before huge Baldragon blaze
Group says it was prevented from removing flammable materials before fire
Local residents called for assistance to deal with unruly youths just hours before a blaze tore through the former Baldragon Academy campus, it has emerged.
Police are looking to speak to a gang of girls and boys, all believed to be around 14 years old, after flames broke out in multiple locations at the former school site.
Chief Inspector Nicky Russell said the campus had become an area for youths to congregate but stressed such behaviour would not be tolerated.
Kirkton Safety and Community Partnership said it raised concerns many times in the weeks before the incident but was “prevented” from removing flammable materials.
Strathmartine councillor Kevin Keenan said the local authority may now have to look at stepping up security at the site and he warned that raising fires could carry “a real risk to life”.
A community group said fire safety concerns over the former Baldragon Academy had been raised just weeks before a blaze tore through the campus.
Police are looking to speak to a group of youths, believed to be aged around 14, after more than 40 firefighters were called to Saturday afternoon’s blaze.
It emerged local residents also called for assistance the night before after seeing youngsters smash windows from inside the boarded-up buildings.
Kirkton Safety and Community Partnership vice-chairwoman Lynn Watson claimed fire safety issues had been raised with city executive director of children and families services Paul Clancy a number of times.
She said: “We were prevented from removing anything else from the old Baldragon Academy, including flammable fixtures and fittings.
“Teenagers on the roof were reported to senior council officers a month ago.
“I know folk had raised concerns as our community sergeant had been notified, and that was about three weeks ago so it’ll be interesting to see what measures had actually been put in place.”
Chief Inspector Nicky Russell said the force is keen to speak to a group of girls and boys seen in the area around the time the string of fires broke out.
“The former school has become an area for youths to congregate recently,” she said.
“This has resulted in a number of vandalisms and anti-social behaviour and I would like to stress that this will not be tolerated.”
City Council Labour group leader Kevin Keenan, who represents the Strathmartine ward, said: “I understand there had been work to clean up the inside of the school but I am also aware the community safety partnership has raised concerns.
“This latest act of vandalism carries a real risk to life and takes up the valuable resources of the police and fire service.
“It they are getting to this level of vandalism then we may need to look at having some kind of security, and whether it’s a patrol or having someone placed there permanently, we need to make sure this does not happen again.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We are working with Police Scotland on this matter.”
Fire damage to the former Baldragon Academy.
City Council Labour group leader Kevin Keenan, who represents the Strathmartine ward.