Fire at Greenock house may have been caused by lightning

Flats on fire
Image caption A block of flats was left burning after a suspected lightning strike

A lightning strike is thought to have caused a house fire in Greenock, Renfrewshire.

The blaze broke out in a block of flats in Campbell Street in the town at about 18:10 on Thursday.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were called to deal with the "large" fire following a lightning storm.

Torrential rain, thunder and lightning swept parts of the country, with a number of areas in Scotland placed on flood alert.

Following the fire in Greenock, about 20 people had to leave their homes.

They are being cared for at a nearby church hall. The Red Cross has sent an emergency vehicle to support those who are unable to return home.

Scottish Fire and Rescue said later that no one was injured but the building has been "severely damaged" by fire and heat from the blaze.

Firefighters were also dealing with flash floods in Greenock and elsewhere. They received numerous calls from other parts of the country.

Among the worst affected locations were parts of Glasgow and Ayrshire where rainfall was estimated at approximately 20mm.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued "be prepared" notices in several areas.

Forecaster Billy Payne, from Meteogroup, said: "The rain band is moving north and breaking up with heavy thundery showers across southern and central Scotland. There have been a few lightning strikes in the Glasgow area and 20mm of rain has fallen locally since daylight began."

The rainstorms follow a three week heat wave during which some of the hottest temperatures for years have been recorded.

Image caption Many major routes, including London Road in Glasgow, were flooded - pic by Willie Jerrett

As a result of the deteriorating conditions, road maintenance firm BEAR Scotland has postponed resurfacing works on the southbound M9.

Work was due to take place at the weekend but has been shelved due to forecasts for further rain.

The work on the stretch between junction 9 (Bannockburn) and junction 8 (Hill of Kinnaird) will be carried out at a later date.

Power cuts

Scottish Power said "pockets of customers" are without power in the Musselburgh and Tranent areas.

Some flooding was reported in the Borders, at Eyemouth and Kelso.

In Glasgow, the newly-refurbished Tollcross International Swimming Centre was forced shut because of problems with the building's rainwater system.

The centre will host swimming events during next summer's Commonwealth Games.

A spokesman for operators Glasgow Life said: "Tollcross International Swimming Centre has been forced to close as a result of today's adverse weather conditions and an issue with the building's rainwater system.

"Glasgow Life is working with architects and contractors to rectify this and the facility will reopen as soon as possible. We apologise for any disruption to customers."

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