Dec 5 2012 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
The Plains victim of an arson attack says it is only a matter of time before someone is killed after the latest fire incident in the village.
Emergency services rushed to Margo Donnelly’s home in Meadowhead Road after her double garage was torched at around 11pm last Thursday.
The blaze destroyed the garage and left her elderly parents needing treatment for smoke inhalation. Her dad, John Harris, bravely used a garden hose to battle the flames from spreading to the house.
A shaken Margo said: “I just got in from work and locked the door and went to the other side of the house.
“I was in for about 20 minutes and I heard a bang. I thought it was my son but when I came through I noticed a glow and I raced out of the house in my bare feet.
“I couldn’t believe anything would go up that quick. My car was on the drive and I jumped into it to move it out of the way.”
Margo’s parents Margaret and John who are in their 70s and live next door, thought their daughter’s house was on fire.
“They were trying to phone me but it just kept ringing out as the flames had burnt through the overhead phone lines.
“The neighbours were brilliant and several of them dialled the fire service. The fire service, police and an ambulance arrived and I can’t thank them all enough.”
Firefighters took around an hour to put out the blaze which completely destroyed the garage and its contents.
Margo fears that there have been too many similar incidents in the village recently and fears that a fatality is inevitable.
She said: “We’ve lost a lot of personal possessions but I was lucky that the house didn’t catch fire; the soffits are all melted. My dad is a real hero to me.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone is killed as there have been so many fires in such a small area around about here over the last few years.
“There’s a lane at the back of the house and people are always hanging about there drinking and it isn’t just young ones.
“We asked the council if we could block it off but they said it’s a right of way and they don’t own it — it’s a no-man’s land.
“I don’t understand why they can’t claim the land because that is exactly what they did when they needed land that we own when they had to build a pavement.”
Margo says problems in the area can be traced back to when work started on a nearby new housing development.
Two of the older houses were set on fire and another fire was started really close to a 900-gallon tank holding fuel for her dad’s central heating.
The latest ordeal has left Margo with feelings of trepidation.
She added: “I’m normally quite a confident person.
“My dad built this house in 1976 and my two sons live here with me.
“They were both out on Saturday and I couldn’t face sitting on my own not knowing what was going on outside so I jumped into the car and went over to a friend’s house.”