Dozens of Kilsyth families found themselves out in the cold and wet as firefighters fought an intentional house fire.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “At 8.34pm on Tuesday 12 September crews were alerted to reports of a fire at a ground floor flat on Townhead Street in Kilsyth.
“Two appliances attended and firefighters extinguished the fire using high-powered hoses.
“There were no casualties and crews made the area safe before leaving the scene.”
Residents of the street evacuated their properties, fearful of a gas mains explosion. They remained outdoors until almost midnight.
One resident said: “There were people out without shoes, having just gotten out of bed. That includes young children, some of whom cried the whole time.”
Another said that the property is believed to be a homeless accommodation unit, and claimed that it had been reported as having been left unsecured hours before the incident.
Stephen Llewellyn, Housing Operations Manager with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We can confirm a council owned property in Kilsyth was the subject of a criminal act of vandalism. The door to the property appears to have been forced open and a fire deliberately started. Our officers have secured the property and this is now subject to investigation by Police Scotland.
“Anyone with information should contact the local police office.”
This can be done by calling 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.