Bo’ness fire destroys equipment for needy children

081012 Boness safety committee burnt out portacabin.
081012 Boness safety committee burnt out portacabin.
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VANDALS who torched Bo’ness Community Safety Group’s portable cabin were this week condemned for their actions, said to have hit the town’s neediest children.

VANDALS who torched Bo’ness Community Safety Group’s portable cabin were this week condemned for their actions, said to have hit the town’s neediest children.

And warning calls were issued that lives could be at risk from maliciously-started fires.

Safety equipment loaned by the charitable group to local families, otherwise unable to afford it, was destroyed in the blaze, which broke out at Boundary Street in the early hours of last Friday.

Fire and cooker guards, thermometers, and safety gadgets for plugs, doors, windows and blind cords were wiped out, as well as a printer, laminator, stacks of leaflets and presentation equipment used at community days and talks.

A saddened group chairwoman, Madelene Hunt, said: “Who would want to do that and what do they get out of it?

“It’s sheer mindless vandalism and absolutely unnecessary and punishes those that have least in our society - it hits the kids.”

Nothing survived in the well-used community premises, which had been gifted by BP.

Home to the safety group for 16 years, it was also a venue for Bo’ness and Blackness Neighbourhood Watch, Bo’net, Bonnie Bo’ness and others.

Furniture, a microwave, vacuum cleaner and kettles were destroyed.

Police enquiries were continuing this week.

Inspector John Kellett said: “We are appealing to anyone who has any information to get in touch and be assured it will be followed up appropriately. People are hurting others that live in Bo’ness through their actions.”

Two fire engines from Bo’ness headed for Grangepans when the fire was reported just after 2.20am.

Initially ‘‘well alight’’, by 2.50am it had been brought under control.

Specially-trained fire brigade sniffer dogs were brought in on Friday to assist the investigation.

The safety items had been bought thanks to grants and donations and the charity worked with health visitors and social workers to distribute them in the community.

Madelene, who said no more equipment would be available for the foreseeable future, was due to meet with insurers yesterday (Thursday).

In the meantime the group has been offered meeting facilities at the fire station.

Councillors Adrian Mahoney and Sandy Turner both said how appalled they were by the fire and urged anyone who knew who was responsible to come forward.

Councillor Mahoney said: “There’s certainly been a great deal of upset in the community about this.

“The team work so hard and spread the message and do it as volunteers.

“To be attacked in that way and have their premises destroyed by fire is terrible and shameful. I hope the culprits are caught.”

Councillor Turner said: “It’s a real stab in the heart to the most needy in our local community.”

Both councillors pointed to a spate of recent fireraising incidents and warned that such actions risked more than just property.

“Somebody could end up being killed if this goes on. We have been very lucky so far,” said Councillor Turner.

“This is seriously harming the community.

“We really need to stamp this out.”