Police are hunting three men, thought to be responsible for lighting fires in the student quarter overnight.
Officers say people's lives were in danger when furniture and rubbish at the front of student flats was set alight.
Two wheelie bins were also set on fire.
A flat in Leith Street is significantly damaged.
In some cases, people were sleeping inside homes while fires burned outside.
Three men wearing white t-shirts were seen running from the Leith Street address at the time of the fire, about 1am.
Emergency services were alerted to the incident by neighbouring residents.