Fire louts torch nursery and force closure leaving kids and staff heartbroken
A headteacher has been left “devastated” after louts set fire to a nursery playground causing it to close days before the end of term.
Gavinburn Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Old Kilpatrick has been unable to reopen following the blaze on Saturday with police confirming they are treating it as deliberate and appealing for witnesses.
The fire was started in a hut play area of the nursery, which is based in the grounds of Gavinburn Primary on Dumbarton Road, on Saturday night and spread to cause damage to the entrance of the building.
Pictures show the entrance boarded up and the charred remains of a shed being cleared out.
A 15-year-old boy has since been charged in connection with the blaze.
In the aftermath of the fire, headteacher Marie Wilson took to the school’s Twitter page to urge people to steer clear.
She said: “We are truly devastated by the mindless vandalism tonight.
“Can I please ask that you stay away from the school grounds until all police and fire investigations are complete.”
Police Scotland also acknowledged the impact of the damage and said: “An investigation is ongoing in relation to the wilful fire in the grounds of Gavinburn School on Saturday evening.
“We are very aware of the impact this damage has on our community and will ensure we engage with partners to identify prevention opportunities.”
West Dunbartonshire Council thanked parents and carers for their understanding at this difficult time and offered alternative childcare options at Dalmuir ELCC to cover until the end of term on Tuesday 27 June.
The local authority said: “We are deeply saddened by the extensive damage to Gavinburn Early Learning and Childcare Centre (ELCC) caused by a fire at the weekend, and sorry to have had to close our doors to children before the scheduled end of term.
“Unfortunately due to significant damage in their play area, as well as at the entrance to the ELCC and smoke damage within, it is not currently safe to welcome our young people back.
“We are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland, who are investigating the cause of the fire.”
The local community expressed their discontent on social media with one saying: “Kids are distraught, hope everyone is okay, and the culprits get caught, quickly.”
Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene shortly before 8pm.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 7.44pm on Saturday, June 25 to reports of a building fire on Dumbarton Road, Old Kilpatrick.
“Operations control mobilised two appliances to the scene, where a fire was affecting a play hut outside a primary school and the main building.
“Crew extinguished the fire and made the area safe.
“There were no reported casualties.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson added: “A 15-year-old male youth has been charged in connection with a fire in the Dumbarton Road area of Old Kilpatrick.
“A report will be sent to the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration.”
The fire did not affect Gavinburn Primary School, which will remain open as usual.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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