Huge warehouse blaze in Glasgow brought under control

Media caption, Dramatic footage of Glasgow fruit market fire

A massive blaze at a warehouse in Glasgow has been brought under control.

Site owner City Property has confirmed the market has been "partially re-opened".

Only smaller vehicles are being allowed into the site on Thursday evening, although access for HGVs may become possible overnight.

Firefighters were called to the two-storey Blochairn Fruit Market in the north east of the city when the alarm was raised at 03:44.

At the height of the fire widespread flames could be seen across the site and more than 70 firefighters were in attendance.

Workers, who had been processing orders and loading vans, were evacuated. There were no reports of any injuries.

Crews are continuing to hose down the building.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said despite extensive damage, much of the building had been saved.

The British Hospitality Association had predicted that the blaze would affect local restaurants, flower shops and cafes which rely on daily deliveries from Blochairn.

City Property, which owns the site, said it was trying to establish alternative arrangements so that normal business could resume as soon as possible.

Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images

SFRS deputy assistant chief officer John Joyce said: "What I can tell you is that we've saved a very good proportion of it.

"In fact the site operator are pretty happy with the parts that we have saved because that is the main operational part of the building.

"It's a real shame for those businesses which have been badly affected, but we're working with the businesses and the city council to get the functioning part open as soon as possible."

He said a specialist fire investigation team would attempt to establish the cause of the fire in the coming days.

BBC Scotland understands one line of inquiry being looked at by the fire investigation team is the possibility the fire started in a fridge in the fruit market.

Media caption, At its height, more than 70 firefighters were tackling the warehouse blaze

Fish merchant Donald Neilson, the director of John Vallance Ltd, described seeing the fire coming towards them along the roof.

He said there had been reports of a small fire at the other end of the market.

Mr Neilson said he had not thought the fire would impact on his the part of the site, and he went to check the fruit market area.

"It really was like a raging inferno through there at the far end," said Mr Neilson.

"I ran back in and shouted to our staff 'everybody get out right now'."

He said deliveries were left lying and vans were left half-loaded.

"The most important thing is everybody got out," he said.

Image source, Jim Stitt
Image caption, All workers have been evacuated from the building
Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Reuters

Jim McGhee, who owns Castle Douglas fruit and veg shop Mitchell's, was also there when the fire broke out.

"I was in the market at 02:30 this morning - I had been there for about an hour and the fire alarms went off," he said.

"Within 10 minutes the fire had spread right through the bottom end of the market and gas cylinders were exploding.

"It was really quite bad."

He said it had been quite easy to walk out of the warehouse, and that the fire brigade had been on the scene "really quickly".

Blochairn - The market that feeds Scotland

  • The 32-acre site next to junction 14 of the M8 opened in 1969
  • It operates 24 hours a day
  • The market supplies fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers
  • Restaurants, caterers, hotels and processors throughout central and west Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland use it
  • More than two million tons of produce from around the world goes through the market each year
  • About 1,000 vehicles take goods in and out of the site each day
  • The market employs 400 full-time workers
  • There are 74 fruit and vegetable stalls plus a further six selling fish

Initially, emergency services were being hampered in their efforts to put out the fire due to low water pressure caused by the number of appliances tackling the blaze.

Scottish Water was contacted and took steps to boost the water pressure in the area.

Insp Stuart Clemenson, from Police Scotland, told BBC Scotland the building had been still well ablaze three hours after the fire started.

He said: "The site itself employs approximately 400 people who have now all evacuated out."

Image source, Arnaud Javelle
Image caption, Smoke from the fire could be seen across the city
Image caption, Up to 90% of the building was believed to be on fire

SFRS said 12 fire engines and four aerial appliances had been involved in the operation.

Police Scotland said Blochairn Road between Royston Road and Siemens Place had been closed due to the fire. Local diversions were in place.

A large plume of smoke from the building led to speed restrictions put in place for drivers on the nearby M8 motorway. This was later lifted.

Hundreds of traders work at the market, supplying fresh fruit and vegetables and fish to shops and restaurants in the west of the country.

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