Trading resumes at fire-hit Blochairn market

Media caption,
The market said the majority of traders were back up and running on Friday morning

Trading has resumed at one of Scotland's most important wholesale markets, less than 24 hours after a devastating fire.

Firefighters were called to the Glasgow Wholesale Markets at Blochairn at 03:44 BST on Thursday. Flames were found to be threatening much of the building.

At the height of the fire, more than 70 firefighters were at the scene. They had to tackle a well-established fire on a 32-acre site.

No-one was injured.

By Thursday evening, some vehicular access was allowed to the markets, which supply fresh fruit and vegetables to much of Scotland. The complex also includes the only inland fish market in the country.

Market manager Tom McIntyre told BBC Scotland: "It's been an amazing the team effort, from the emergency services, to the utilities, to the traders themselves.

"People being orderly, behaving themselves, just knuckling down and getting on with it, and because we have had that kind of teamwork we now have the market at 90% operation."

Site owners City Property said nine businesses had been burnt out by the fire but the site traded at nearly full capacity overnight and this morning despite a third of it being cordoned off.

In a statement it said: "Emergency services are still in control of the damaged parts of the site.

"Once this is handed back, City Property will assess the damage and decide upon the best course of action."

Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images

After the fire was brought under control, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (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.

Douglas Scott, who was in the warehouse when the fire broke out, was back at work on Friday morning.

He told BBC Scotland reporter Aileen Clarke everyone was working together to ensure trading continued.

"We've come through some tough times but this won't stop us from trading, that's for sure," he said.

"We've got a good group of guys, they are all in this morning, they are all here.

"We only have about 10% of produce we would normally have but all our suppliers and customers have been on to say they will support us and be with us the whole way through it."

Image source, Getty Images

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 tonnes 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

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