THE community has blasted “disgraceful” firebugs who forced dozens of residents into temporary accommodation as cops probe three deliberate fires in one week.

Residents in Haldane were evacuated following a blaze at a block of flats at 1.30am on August 29 at Dumbain Road.

Ten households were affected and residents have been living in temporary accommodation since the act of wilful fire-raising.

A council spokeswoman told the Reporter the council is “doing all it can” to assist them.

She explained: “Specialist staff are on site to offer support and information and we will continue to provide temporary accommodation for as long as required.”

The incident follows two fires on August 22 and on August 24 on Meadowbank Street, in Dumbarton, where a block of flats suffered “significant damage”.

The first blaze happened at 9.40pm within a store cupboard in a common close while the second occurred within an insecure top floor flat.

Detective Constable Alec Stuart at Clydebank CID said:“Luckily on these occasions no-one was injured however setting any fire is dangerous and reckless and whoever is responsible has caused considerable damage to the property.”

Community councillors representing Dumbarton and Leven have expressed worry about the incidents.

Dumbarton councillor David McBride lamented how often the area appears to be hit by deliberate fire incidents, dubbing the crime as “a disgraceful act”.

He said: “Our area regularly is the victim of wilful fire-raising sadly all to often. It beggars belief those responsible have such a disregard for life and property.”

Leven councillor Jim Bollan commented that these fire-raising incidents are “extremely worrying”.

“Thankfully nobody was injured in these incidents, but that will not always be the case,” he added.

But Police Scotland have assured worried members of the public that the incidents are not linked.

Inspector Roddy MacNeill of Dumbarton Police said: “The incidents aren’t linked.

“The investigation is moving on, it’s in the early stages.”

Despite there being no physical injuries recorded, Paul Devlin Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s local senior officer for West Dunbartonshire, said: “Every deliberate fire has victims, costs and consequences and we therefore take a zero tolerance approach to this unacceptable behaviour.

“We continue to work closely with our partners and our communities to prevent deliberate fires and educate people on the very clear dangers and consequences.”

The fires come just after the release of Scottish Fire and Rescue figures indicating that the number of blazes in West Dunbartonshire have actually decreased.

The Reporter recently shared statistics which revealed the number of primary and secondary fires have been cut by 27 per cent from April to June 2018 compared to the same time in 2017, with the number of incidents also down by 19 per cent.

Leven councillor Iain Dickson added: “After a summer that saw a successful multi-agency focus on fire-raising reduce the number of deliberate fires it’s concerning to see three fires in such a short time.”