NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Crews probe cause of Peterhead fish factory blaze

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Media caption The fish processing plant is one of the town's biggest employers

Fire investigators are probing the cause of a blaze which destroyed a Peterhead fish factory.

The fire which burned for more than 10 hours at the Northbay Pelagic site was brought under control overnight into Sunday.

Nearby flats were evacuated but no-one was believed to have been in the factory at the time.

The fire service said the investigation into the cause of the blaze was getting under way on Monday.

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Media captionNight-time footage posted on The Only Way is Peterhead Facebook page shows flames engulfing the building

A rest centre was set up at Peterhead Academy for people evacuated from their homes in Errol Street and road closures were expected to remain in place for some time.

Three crews remained on scene overnight to damp down the fire before investigators assess the damage and potential cause.

Northbay Pelagic is reported to employ about 300 people in Peterhead, one of Europe's busiest fish landing ports.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Northbay Pelagic is one of the largest fish factories in Scotland and a major employer in Peterhead.

"As we start the new mackerel season the Scottish government stands ready to assist in the aftermath of this fire in any way we can.

"We are asking public agencies to work with the local authority and the business to see what support can be offered as a matter of urgency."

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Image copyright Charles Bruce
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Image caption Clouds of smoke from the fire could be seen across the town
Image copyright PAtricia Creedon

Earlier on Saturday, clouds of smoke could be seen billowing across the harbour area and there were reports of loud bangs from inside the building.

One eyewitness described it as looking like a "volcano" erupting.

At its peak 10 fire units and several specialist crews tackled the flames.

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Image copyright Len Simpson

The building involved was formerly the Fresh Catch fish factory. The firm was taken over in a "joint venture" by new company Northbay Pelagic Ltd in 2013.

The smoke clouds were visible from Peterhead FC's Balmoor Stadium. The club were playing Stirling Albion at home on Saturday afternoon.

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Image copyright Joan Wyllie
Image copyright Anneka Stewart
Image copyright Len Simpson
Image copyright Brian Buchan
Image copyright Jennifer Farr
Image copyright Ernie Taylor

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