Tayside and Central Scotland

Major fire at Perth recycling plant

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Media captionFirefighters tackle a major blaze at a Perth recycling plant as 100 tonnes of paper and cardboard went up in flames

Firefighters have been tackling a major blaze at a Perth recycling plant, as 100 tonnes of paper and cardboard went up in flames.

Staff at Wyllie Recycling and neighbouring units were evacuated as a result of the fire, which could be seen for miles around.

Tayside Fire said efforts to tackle the blaze had been "severely hampered" by exploding gas canisters.

Emergency services were called to the Inveralmond industrial estate at 07:40.

The lack of water in the area had also hindered the operation, the fire service said.

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Media captionEmergency services are fighting a large fire at a recycling centre in Perth, close to the A9. Video courtesy of Ian Haig

The blaze caused a mile-high plume of black smoke at its height, but has now been brought under control. Four buildings next to the recycling centre have been damaged by heat and smoke.

Witness Gerry Scott, 27, said he had been driving to work in Perth when he saw the smoke rising from the recycling plant in Ruthvenfield Way and pulled over to watch with workers from the estate and other motorists.

He said: "You could feel the heat from it a long way back. Then there was a loud crack, like a car backfiring or fireworks going off, and that must have been some sort of gas canister.

"You could clearly see bits of it flying through the air and the largest piece tore right through the roof of the factory and something like 60ft into the sky.

"As soon as we heard the bang we all legged it. People were running for their lives and it's just as well they did because bits were landing near where they had been standing."

Motorists reported being able to see the smoke from the blaze up to 20 miles away.

Tayside Fire and Rescue sent 10 fire engines and 70 firefighters from across Perthshire to fight the blaze, as well as an aerial ladder platform and a command support unit.

Image caption Local residents were advised to keep their windows closed as smoke from the fire blew across the area

An investigation into the source of the blaze has been launched, but it is not thought to be suspicious.

A Tayside Police spokesman said local residents had been advised to keep their windows closed as smoke was blown across the area.

He added: "At the fire's height, fire units had to draw water from the nearby River Almond to help douse the blaze and up to 300 people were evacuated. All people have been accounted for and no-one was reported injured."

All road closures that had been in place around the industrial estate have now been lifted.

Scottish Water said people living near the scene of the fire may have had their water cut off or experienced low pressure as the fire service tapped into the mains supply for water to fight the blaze.

A spokesman for the company added: "When supplies are fully restored customers may also experience some discolouration to their supply, this discolouration is harmless and will gradually disappear as the system returns to normal.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience and cooperation."

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