MORE than 100 hours of firefighters’ time has been wasted battling deliberate blazes in just one month, the Glasgow Times can reveal.

A total of 16 fires took place across the Greater Glasgow area in a five-week period from mid-April to mid-June, with nine of the infernos started intentionally.

An explosion occurred after naked flame lighted card or paper rubbish at a factory building in Petershill Road in Germiston on May 31, the documents revealed.

The popular Bull Frog Bar in Motherwell’s Shield Road was targeted on April 16, while the former Davislea Nursing Home on Mallaig Road, which now lies empty, was hit on April 20 and 24.

Meanwhile, Brockburn Road in Pollok and Cambuslang’s Westburn Road were also the sites of intentional blazes on May 25 and April 29 respectively.

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Deliberate fires took place in grassland in Old Kilpatrick on May 27, near Lenzie Railway Station on May 31, Campsie Hills on June 6 and a derelict property on Gartsherrie Road on May 5 with fire chiefs able to confirm a number of the incidents were caused by setting flammable material alight intentionally.

A huge blaze in Nuneaton Street was deemed accidental after a naked flame was placed too close to paper, while Paisley's Taj Tandoori takeaway inferno was also ruled to be an accident after a cooking with oil or fat got out of hand and a four-bed Cambuslang home was also declared an accidental fire after it caught alright due to an electrical fault in the dining room.

Causes remain unknown for blazes in High Street, Calderweide Road, and the M73 J2A near Gartcosh.

The documents confirm it is the officer’s “professional opinion” which determines the cause of a fire.

Glasgow Times:

An extract from the Department of Communities and Local Government states: “It is not necessary to be certain that the incident was due to the cause given, only that the cause was one that could be reasonably supposed given the evidence available”.

It comes after alarm bells were raised at potential concerns over staffing changes to several SFRS stations throughout the country.

As previously reported by the Glasgow Times, a “cost-saving” exercise has been proposed to remove fire engines from 10 stations across the country in a bid to save cash.

The SFRS said the appliances will be withdrawn on a temporary basis from stations in Maryhill, Govan and Cowcaddens in Glasgow as well as Greenock and Hamilton.

The plans would also see scaling back on fire and rescue services along the River Clyde.

Glasgow Times:

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Iain Macleod, head of prevention and protection, said: "Deliberate fires are a needless scar on communities and put lives at risk. We take a zero-tolerance approach to such reckless behaviour and will always work with police and partners to identify those responsible.

"Education remains the most effective way for us to prevent deliberate fires. That is why our firefighters and community action team colleagues work tirelessly to educate the public on the dangers of fire-setting and around how to prevent such incidents from occurring.

"We also routinely monitor and review incident data to ensure any notable local or regional trends are recognised and, if appropriate, responded to."

DACO Macleod added: "While deliberate fires can needlessly divert our crews to avoidable incidents, our communities can rest assured we will continue to attend fire-related emergencies and will always ensure that there is adequate fire cover."

Since the Glasgow Times entered freedom of information (FOI) requests into the blazes, there has been yet another spate of incidents to plague the west of Scotland prompting fire crews in South Lanarkshire to host safety sessions.

The SFRS has teamed up with South Lanarkshire Council in a bid to lower the number of unnecessary callouts throughout the area.

Unseasonably hot weather coupled with negligence and wilful disruption from thugs keen to cause trouble has prompted problems for firefighters who have reported an inferno surge.

Glasgow Times:

Events will last around one to two hours and a fully crewed fire appliance will be there as well as officers from the councils to provide advice, and members from the SFRS Community Action Team, who will offer information on fire safety.

Over the last month, fires have been reported in several play areas in North Lanarkshire, rendering them unusable; Pitt Street; Bathgate Street; and the popular Da Luciano eatery in Bothwell.

A pensioner died in a blaze in Govanhill’s Annadale Street, and a toddler was rescued from the balcony of a fire which left a dog dead in Drumchapel’s Linkwood Avenue.

Meanwhile, the historic White Elephant Cinema went up in flames on Shawlands’ Kilmarnock Road earlier this month.

Paul Sweeney MSP said: “These figures lay bare the daily pressures experienced by firefighters and further emphasise why the proposed cuts being explored by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are so foolish and dangerous.

Glasgow Times:

“We know that resources are already incredibly stretched, and we know that the number of call-outs has not decreased so it is absurd that these proposed cuts look set to go ahead. 

“Anyone deliberately or wilfully engaging in behaviour that results in fires should be prepared to face serious consequences. Their actions endanger lives, cause grave concern in local communities and waste public resources, all of which is utterly inexcusable.”

Police Scotland confirmed no arrests have been made in relation to fires taking place before the middle of June. Investigations into later blazes remain ongoing.