ANGRY residents caught up in an asbestos scare in Glasgow's East End could take legal action against city council bosses.
People in Shettleston will discuss the move tonight at a public meeting called by a law firm following health concerns.
Council chiefs insist that only "extremely low amounts of asbestos fibres were found" after vandals torched St Mark's Primary two months ago.
The school – which had lain empty for two years – was so badly damaged it had to be demolished while specialists teams were brought in by the city council to remove asbestos fibres from the roofs of neighbouring homes.
The city council has played down any danger posed to locals but Chris Gordon, an asbestos expert and partner in law firm Thompsons Solicitors, said tonight's meeting was being held to "raise local awareness of the danger that potentially exists" from asbestos.
Tim Weir, a spokesman for the law firm, said the meeting in St Mark's Church hall from 7.30pm could also trigger legal action against the city council although he would say only: "There will be some discussion about redress."
Council chiefs are furious and believe Thompsons is causing unnecessary alarm among locals with a spokeswoman commenting: "It's hard to see how this is not scaremongering.
"Given the exceptionally low risk to people's health it was important that we balanced cleaning the area with allowing people to get on with their normal lives. All work was carried out with the approval of the Health & Safety Executive and residents kept informed throughout the process."
But Mr Weir denied the accusation. Asked if the legal firm was scaremongering, he said: "That is not the case. It is the opposite to that.
"There is the belief that Glasgow City Council was more concerned about the disturbance caused to the community rather than the health of the community. Only a small amount of material needs to be inhaled before you are poisoned.
"It is definitely not scaremongering."
Mr Gordon commented: "There's a mistaken assumption that there's no longer any risk from asbestos - that it's a thing of the past.
"The alarming truth is that each year more than 4000 people die from asbestos-related disease.
"Asbestos is a silent killer, and inhaling only a small amount of the stuff can have dire health consequences later in life.
"There are currently hundreds of people in the city dying because of asbestos poisoning, but they just don't know it yet." And he went on: "We're committed to the local community and that's why we're holding this public meeting to provide assistance to anyone concerned with these recent developments."
Tonight's meeting has the backing of Shettleston councillor Frank McAveety who claimed: "I've been speaking with a number of worried residents in the aftermath of the fire and they're extremely concerned by the whole situation.
"The community needs to be reassured that what has to be done is being done, and that there are no risks in the future.
"The community needs to come together at this time, and I look forward to the meeting where we can hopefully get a better picture of what happened, what's being done, and what can be done to ensure residents are never again put at risk."
Asbestos fibres can cause lung disease and can be fatal. It poses a threat to health if disturbed.
Asbestos was used as insulation and fire proofing as recently as the year 2000.