A fire at an Edinburgh school and two assaults in the area may be linked, police have said.

Firefighters were called to blazes at Wester Hailes Education Centre and nearby outdoor activity space Bridge 8 Hub on Friday night, which police suspect were caused by the same culprits who attacked a man and a woman during the evening.

A 37-year-old woman was seriously injured in an assault on Union Canal path at 8.30pm, and an hour earlier a 30-year-old man was attacked in the same area.

The woman was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment to her injuries, described as “serious but not life-threatening” by police, while the man emerged unscathed.

READ MORE: WHEC: Fire crews tackle blaze at Edinburgh's Wester Hailes Education Centre

Detectives now believe that the two assaults are linked to the two incidents of suspected wilful fireraising at the school and activity hub, and are appealing for witnesses to help them track down the culprits.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called to tackle the blaze at Wester Hailes Education Centre at 8.04pm.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said the blaze was located inside a cupboard in the school and left the building “heavily smoke damaged”.

Fire crews from seven appliances spent four hours at the scene, although no casualties were reported.

The Bridge 8 Hub’s social media accounts posted photos of the burning site and the torched aftermath, adding: “Words cannot express how this makes you feel.

“This is a fantastic neighbourhood and people get up every day and get on with their day jobs.

“There was a beautiful larch building before…. Very sad.”

A Police Scotland statement said: “Police believe the incidents are linked and are following positive lines of inquiry.

“Officers are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time of the incidents and who may have any information to contact them on 101 quoting incident number 3544 of 13 March.”

Wester Hailes Education Centre is the former school of Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, who launched his campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party at the school in January.

It also hosted Education Secretary John Swinney last month, as he gave a speech outlining plans for a review of the Scottish curriculum to a group of headteachers and education figures.

Oskar Czapkiewicz, a former pupil at the school, told the PA news agency: “The fire looked really severe. I got there when they were just opening the door.

“The fire has been tamed and it’s under control. There’s a lot of damage.

“I was devastated, and the fact that my little brother still goes to the school and the exams are just around the corner.”