A MAN is in a critical condition in hospital after a suspicious fire in Paisley on Monday night.

Emergency services rushed to a ground floor flat in the town's George Street, near to Maxwellton Road at around 8.55pm.

Police said there was no one in the flat at the time. Three residents from the block, however, including a 51-year-old man in a ground floor flat, and a second man and a six year-old boy who live in the house above, were taken by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

Only the 51-year-old man remains in hospital and is in intensive care. Hospital staff describe his condition as critical.

A number of other residents were evacuated as a precaution but have been allowed to return to their homes.

Detective Inspector David Wagstaff, Paisley CID, said: "Officers, including a forensic team, are carrying out a search of the flat and also speaking to neighbours in an effort to trace the person responsible for the fire.

“Whilst there may have been no one in the flat that was targeted, this irresponsible and thoughtless act has resulted in a neighbour being seriously ill in hospital.

“George Street is residential and it is entirely possible that people would have been in the street or driving by at the time of the incident. I would appeal to anyone who may have seen someone running from the flat or anyone acting suspiciously in the area between 2045 and 2100 hours, to contact police.”

Any information can be passed to the CID at Paisley Police Station via 101. Please quote incident number 3687/18/12/17 when calling. Alternatively, details can be given in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.