Residents have spoken of their shock after a blaze ripped through a garage in a coastal town.
Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have launched a joint investigation into the fire, which took hold in Ricardo’s Garage, Mid Street, Fraserburgh, at about midnight on Saturday.
Crews battled the flames for several hours and nearby residents described hearing explosions before being evacuated.
Nobody was hurt, but some people were unable to return to their properties until after 6am, and the garage was left badly damaged.
Footage posted on social media showed a huge fireball stretching high into the air as gas cylinders in the garage ignited.
Julia Klima, 20, who lives in a house backing on to the garage, said: “It was a big shock. Initially we thought it might be something on fire upstairs in our house but then we saw the garage.
“We heard explosions which was really scary.
“The police and fire brigade told us to get out and we weren’t able to get back in until 6am.”
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she had also been evacuated.
She said: “We were taken up to the Co-op at the other end of the street. It was really shocking and scary to see the fire.
“It is a shame to see that happen to a local business.”
The majority of firefighters were stood down shortly before 3am, but some remained at the scene throughout yesterday morning to dampen down the site.
Richard Whyte, founder of Whytestar Gardening Services which is next door to the garage, said he received a call when he was in Aberdeen informing him that his yard was on fire, then his mobile phone battery ran out of charge.
He said: “I rushed back to Fraserburgh with a dead phone and at that point I had no idea what was happening.
“When I realised it wasn’t mine it was a bit of a relief but I am devastated for the garage owner.
“It’s a real shame. I can only imagine what they are going through.
“Hopefully the community rallies round and supports them until they can get back on their feet.”
Fraserburgh and District councillor Doreen Mair praised the work of the emergency services.
She said: “My thoughts go out to the people who work in the garage.
“However, it is a huge relief that nobody was hurt.
“Thanks must go to the police and fire service for acting so quickly and getting the fire out.”
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A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to a report of a fire in a garage at midnight on Saturday.
“The majority of crews left the scene just before 3am. However, some firefighters remained at the scene until late morning to dampen remaining hot spots.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said there were no apparent suspicious circumstances but confirmed an investigation would be held to establish the cause.