A police probe was today under way after a major fire ripped through a £10 million abattoir site.
The blaze at the newly-refurbished Quality Pork Limited abattoir in Brechin’s Montrose Road is officially being treated as “unexplained”.
The fire broke out while the premises were closed and firefighters arrived to find two industrial units well alight after the alarm was raised at 4.06am on Saturday.
Initial indications were the pig production line has been unaffected by the fire and the main damage is to a staff canteen, offices and storage shed.
Arrangements were being made at the weekend to send around 6,000 pigs a week to England to be processed until the facilities can be restored.
Twelve appliances were at the scene with more than 40 firefighters using high-powered hoses to bring the blaze under control.
The fire raged for more than eight hours, and firefighters remained at the scene for most of the day to damp down hot spots.
Quality Pork Limited, the company formed by a collaboration between pig farmers and the major processor Tulip Ltd, bought the Brechin site in 2014 from AP Jess.
Scottish Pig Producers chief executive, Andy McGowan, said police and fire services still had control of the site over the weekend.
He said: “We’re working hard to get processing space at a Manchester plant so that farmers aren’t too badly affected, but that involves sorting out a lot of logistics.
“However, in a situation like this everyone is very sympathetic and doing everything they can to help.”
Detective Inspector Scott Fotheringham urged anyone with information to get in touch.
He said: “This has been an extensive fire but thankfully, as the premises were shut, no one has been injured.”
And in a separate incident fire crews were called out to the Blue Coral chip shop in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon.
Three appliances from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene at the chip shop on the city’s Balnagask road just after 1.20pm.
The fire was extinguished by just after 2pm, and no one was injured as a result of the incident.