THE Saltcoats skyline was filled with smoke last Wednesday night as an iconic building was set on fire.

Fire crews rushed to Montgomerie Crescent and the building, known as Veronica’s House, which started on Wednesday evening just after 8pm.

Emergency services were on the scene for nearly three hours ensuring the building was safe.

The owners of the building, McLaughlin Construction, have responded to criticism faced following the fire and have told the Herald that they have planning permission for the building and it is not insured following incidents like this one.

A spokesman for the firm said: "McLaughlin Construction are disappointed that our property at Montgomerie Crescent has recently been vandalised and broken into, subsequently a fire has been started and the fire services had to attend. The building on Montgomerie Crescent was bought some time ago and planning permission obtained for the construction of a flatted development.

"During our ownership the building has been properly secured and all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent unauthorised access to the building, unfortunately someone saw fit to break into the property last week and cause damage by wilful fire raising. This is both anti-social and highly dangerous to whoever is carrying this out.

"Following the incident, in conjunction with North Ayrshire Council building control department we took the necessary action to secure the building.

"We note various comments on social media in relation to this incident and confirm the building is not insured for reinstatement following an incident such as this .

"It is unfortunate that the building has been targeted in this way and we would ask people to discourage anyone from undertaking any anti-social behaviour or vandalism in connection with this or indeed any other building, which could potentially put themselves and the general public at risk.

"We thank the fire brigade for their timely response to the incident."

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "About 8.20pm on Wednesday, June 26, police were notified by Scottish Fire and Rescue of a fire in a vacant property on Montgomerie Crescent, Saltcoats. Police attended and enquiries are ongoing with efforts to contact the building's owner."

A spokesman said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 8.18pm on Wednesday, June 26 to reports of a fire in a derelict building in Montgomerie Crescent, Saltcoats.

“Operations Control mobilised two fire engines the scene, where crews extinguished a fire on the second floor of a two-storey building.

“There were no casualties.

“Crews left the scene at 11.07pm after ensuring the area was made safe.”