Police are investigating after a huge fire mysteriously broke out at Bo’ness United’s football stadium.
Fortunately no-one was injured in the Newtown Park blaze, which, according to reports, is most likely to have been started from new astroturf recently left on the site.
How the astroturf could have caught fire however remains a mystery.
A Police Scotland spokesman said he could not confirm that the fire may have been started deliberately but stressed that “enquiries were ongoing”.
He added: “Officers attended along with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service after the Kinneil Band Hall, near to the football ground of Bo’ness United, was reported to be alight at 1.30pm on Tuesday, June 4.
“A number of roads in the area were closed whilst the Fire Service brought the fire under control and pupils from the local Kinneil Primary School were also evacuated from the school building as a precaution. No one was injured.
“Enquiries to establish the cause of the fire are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the police on ‘101’ quoting incident number 1824 of June 4.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added: “I can confirm three appliances attended Newton Park after a call was received at 1.29pm today.”
One local resident who did not wish to be named said: “My partner and I were travelling back from Queensferry and could see the smoke all the way back from there – it was like a black cloud over the whole town of Bo’ness.
“When we got back we spoke to some people at the scene who were saying that they heard the fire was deliberately started but obviously we don’t know anything concrete at this stage.
“Hopefully the police will get to the bottom of it soon. It’s such a shame for the football stadium and the club members and players and also members of the the nearby Kinneil Band hall as their roof was also set ablaze.”
The Falkirk Herald also spoke to Kinneil Band members Willie Gardener and Cailin Minto who live locally, who said they were “devastated” that their band hall had also been damaged as a result of the stadium fire.
Willie said: “It’s a sad day for the town and a very sad day in particular for band members, some of whom like myself have been practicing in that hall for over 50 years.”
Cailin, who has been a band member for almost 12 years added: “We are all devastated. Some musical instruments are housed there and they will all be lost. Luckily I had my cornet at home but I feel really bad for others. Also I have heard there were priceless musical documents in there which are over 100 years old which have now probably been lost forever. It is such a tragedy and I hope the police find out how this terrible fire happened.”
SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, said news of the fire was “truly devastating” and “would come as a shock to the communities in Bo’ness, the team and their supporters”.
“Thankfully the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are on hand and tackling the fire right now. We must hope that their work will save as much of the stadium as possible, while keeping those close by as safe as can be from the spread of the fire.
Regarding reports that Kinneil Band hall had been badly damaged Mr MacDonald added: “While we await a full assessment of the damage, everyone affected can rest assured that I will do everything I can as their MSP to assist Bo’ness United and the Kinneil Band in dealing with the aftermath and will help seek assistance to replace any damaged material or equipment.
“My thoughts are with everyone involved at Bo’ness United, the Kinneil Band and with all Bo’nessians at this time.”
Bo’ness Football Club could not be reached for comment however a post on a Bo’ness United Facebook page reads: “We are hearing the fire was started from the new astroturf that was due to be laid this summer.”