Blaze at chemical warehouse in village sparks probe

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ALARMED residents were evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night after an intense blaze ripped through a chemical storage warehouse.

Firefighters were called to the Biffa Treatment Centre, in Gavell Road, Twechar, at around 2.22am on Monday morning and advised 12 people to leave their homes.

Fire engines from Kilsyth, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Bishopbriggs and Bellshill fire stations were used to get the flames under control and prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.

Wary of the risks posed by chemicals, the fire teams used ‘ground monitor’ hoses specifically designed to deliver large volumes of water from a safe distance.

At the height of the blaze the fire was so intense that radiated heat started to burn pallets and vehicles outside the buildings.

Water was contained within the site to minimise the risk of any chemical contamination of the nearby River Kelvin and farmland.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’s Environmental Protection Unit are currently in discussions with Biffa management representatives to identify the chemicals involved.

They are working closely with representatives from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to take all necessary steps to protect the environment in the surrounding area.

Speaking on Monday, a spokesperson for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said: “As a precaution in the early stages of the incident 12 members of the public were evacuated from nearby houses and farms and have subsequently been allowed to return their homes.

“Firefighters remain at the scene dealing with small pockets of fire and the incident is contained within the site with no risk to the general public.

“To ensure the safety of responding resources the incident commander requested the police to close the B8023 to traffic in the immediate vicinity.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the source of the fire had not yet been established and that a joint investigation into the cause would be undertaken by Strathclyde Police and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue.

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