Glasgow & West Scotland

Large blaze in central Glasgow close to Kingston Bridge

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Media captionFirefighters tackle a large blaze on the south side of the River Clyde

Residents living near the site of a huge fire that destroyed an iconic building in Glasgow city centre have been allowed back into their homes.

At its height, more than 100 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at the former Co-op Funeral Service building in Morrison Street.

Flames at one point were sent more than 100 feet into the air, causing smoke to blow across the M8 and M74 motorways.

Crews were called to the blaze at about 13:50. The cause is not yet known.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said the operation and clean-up was expected to last well into Tuesday morning.

'Extremely difficult fire'

There were not thought to be any casualties.

A number of nearby roads were closed to traffic and smoke affected the nearby M8 and M74 motorways and the Kingston Bridge.

Head of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Brian Sweeney earlier told BBC Radio Scotland the blaze was under control but crews would remain at the scene for several hours.

He added: "Obviously the building is surrounded by some very iconic and very high-value buildings and our ambition was to prevent fire spreading to those.

"This was an extremely difficult fire in the built-up city centre on the southside of the river, and the energy and the tenacity of those early crews in making sure that it didn't spread is to be supported and encouraged.

"Most people who live in Glasgow would have seen the flames emerging and it is a great tribute to our firefighters that it hasn't spread to those adjacent buildings."

Mr Sweeney said the incident research section was on standby and would begin investigations into the cause of the blaze as soon as it was safe to do so.

'Quite scary'

BBC Scotland's reporter at the scene Steven Duff said: "Police were moving people away. There were explosions inside as fire crews were starting to surround the building.

"We are told the building is derelict. There was no-one inside at the time. No-one has been hurt, but people had to be moved out of surrounding offices and flats."

One eye witness said: "I saw a lot of people running from buildings. It was quite scary to watch. I saw parts of the roof fall in."

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said crews were mobilised from Polmadie and Govan fire stations.

When firefighters arrived they found smoke coming from the first and third floors of the five-storey building.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building while efforts began to contain the blaze.