A FAMILY home that was totally destroyed in a massive blaze may have been deliberately set on fire, police said today.
Dozens of firefighters battled through a night of torrential rain to control the fire in the three-storey terraced home in Edinburgh.
Despite relentless rain and the efforts of 45 firefighters, the blaze took six hours to extinguish and left the property completely gutted and without a roof.
But a tragedy was averted because the occupants of the home were away on holiday.
Neighbours said a woman called Shelley Sutherland lived at the property in the Drum Brae area with her two daughters.
One eyewitness said it appeared the fire started near the door of the home.
Another witness, Andrew Corbett, who lives opposite, said: “It went up in minutes.
“I think it was the next-door neighbour who first noticed the fire first. He tried to put the flames out himself with a garden hose.
“It was horrible though. Smoke filled the air and you could hear small explosions and the tiles all cracking and falling inside the house.”
Louise McGauchie, who also witnessed the fire said: “The entire street was lined with fire engines and firefighters.
“You could see the smoke billow out and above the houses on the street then you saw the bright orange flames licking up over the top.
“One fire engine used a ladder to try and get more water in through the top of the house.”
The interior and roof of the house were destroyed and there appeared to be minor smoke damage to adjacent homes.
Police said later they were treating the fire as suspicious.
Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area prior to the blaze.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Lothian and Borders Police immediately on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111.