FIRE has ravaged a pigeon club’s home in Elphinstone, leaving it “completely gutted”.

The Monday morning blaze, which police have confirmed is being treated as “wilful”, has left the Traprain Homing Society homeless just days before the new pigeon racing season gets underway – though, thankfully, there were no pigeons in the stainless steel cabin at the time.

Club president Tom McLeod, who lives in the village, received a call on Monday morning highlighting the damage and was on scene as firefighters dampened the blaze.

He told the Courier: “I’m devastated, to be honest.

“You just start running through your mind what caused it.”

Firefighters from Musselburgh and Tranent were called out at about 5.45am.

East Lothian Courier: The container was destroyed in the fire on Monday morning

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told the Courier they were at the blaze for more than two hours.

She said: “We were alerted at 5.43am on Monday to reports of a building on fire at Elphinstone Miners’ Welfare Society.

“Operations Control mobilised two appliances to the scene and firefighters extinguished a fire within a steel portable cabin.

“Crews left after ensuring the area was made safe and there were no reported casualties.”

Mr McLeod ruled out an electrical issue in the cabin, which has been home to the club for about three years.

While there were no pigeons in the cabin, baskets used by the club were destroyed in the fire.

Each Friday, before a race, members of the club meet at the cabin with the pigeons loaded into the baskets before being transported to the race.

The birds are never in the cabin without club members being there.

Mr McLeod was phoned by a friend at about 6.45am alerting him to the fire service being on site.

East Lothian Courier: The container was destroyed in the fire on Monday morning

By the time he got to the club’s base, he was met with what remained of the container, which he described as “gutted, completely gutted”.

He said: “There were 25 baskets made out of wicker and cane, which are woven.

“Once they get a hold, there would be no stopping them. They would be tinder dry.”

The club has more than a dozen members and attracts people from not just Elphinstone but also Prestonpans, Port Seton, Macmerry and Ormiston.

Mr McLeod, who previously worked in the property maintenance department of East Lothian Council before retiring, met with members on Monday evening to see what could be done.

He said: “We bought that cabin about three years ago.

“We raised funds to get a new cabin, get a reconditioned cabin, to suit our needs and our purposes.”

Offers have been made by other clubs to try to lend a helping hand while the facility is out of action.

Councillor Colin McGinn, who represents the Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry ward, offered his sympathies to the club.

He was “horrified” when he saw the photographs of the damage and told the Courier: “It’s horrible.

“I know a number of the members, having been a member of Tranent Racing Pigeon Club some time ago.

“It is something close to my heart and I was involved for a number of years.

“To see that and the possibility it was wilful and deliberate, it just fills me with dread.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland told the Courier: “Around 6.50am on Monday, police were called to a report of a portable cabin on fire in the carpark of Elphinstone Miners Club, Main Street, Elphinstone.

“The incident is being treated as wilful and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101, quoting incident number 0392 of Monday, April 26.”