Learner driver’s car torched in Fruithill fire

The owner of a car and one of the garages, Gayle Blackie, is pictured by the ashes.
The owner of a car and one of the garages, Gayle Blackie, is pictured by the ashes.

A car that was completely destroyed in a garage fire in Forfar was to be the owner’s first car after passing her driving test.

Gayle Blackie (37) was one of the victims of a blaze that destroyed three garages in Fruithill last Tuesday (April 11).

She is learning to drive and had plans to take her driving test this year, but her Vauxhall Corsa, which was in her garage, was destroyed by the fire.

Gayle was on the bus on her way to work at Betfred when the blaze started at 5pm on April 11.

She saw the flames from the bus and asked the other passengers and driver if they knew what had happened, as well as asking colleagues and locals in a nearby pub when she got to work.

It was only when she rang her dad that she found out her garage was one of the ones that was on fire.

Gayle Blackie's burned out garage with her car.

Gayle Blackie's burned out garage with her car.

Gayle was “in shock” when her father told her what had happened.

She said: “That car has been in my family for a long time and it has been really well looked after.

“I’m due to take my driving test this year and that was going to be my first car.

“It was about 8pm when I got there.

Gayle Blackie's car being towed away following the fire.

Gayle Blackie's car being towed away following the fire.

“When I saw the damage I got a bit angry.

“I thought that’s not my car, it was white, my car is green.”

The garages run between Fruithill and Jeanfield Crescent.

As the car was off the road it was not insured, as Gayle was waiting until she passed her driving test.

The damage caused by the fire.

The damage caused by the fire.

Gayle also had motorcycling gear and camping equipment, including small gas canisters, in her garage, which were destroyed as well.

The day after the fire Police Scotland said officers were looking for a youth in connection with the incident and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Gayle added: “There are too many toerags in town nowadays.

“When I was a kid I would never have dreamed of doing that.

“They really need to think about the consequences of what they are doing.

“How would they feel if that was their family?

“It’s not funny. It’s not coming out of the kids’ pockets.

“Kids don’t have an idea of monetary value like that.

“I’m about £3000 to £4000 down.

“I’m not going to get anything for it.

“I hope that they learn from their mistake and feel a bit of remorse.”

She continued: “It’s the house behind the garages I feel sorry for. Their shed, which was full of stuff, was destroyed.

“Their wooden patio was damaged.

“The fire got so close to the house that the guttering melted.

“That must have been scary.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Enquiries are continuing in relation to the fire at Fruithill.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were alerted at 5pm on Tuesday, April 11, to reports of a shed on fire at Fruithill, Forfar.

“Upon arrival firefighters discovered three garages well alight.

‘‘The fire had also spread to two further garages and two garden sheds.

“Crews used four high-powered hoses to extinguish the flames.

“There were no casualties reported and firefighters left the scene just before 6pm after ensuring the area was made safe.”