MORE than 100 people were evacuated from their homes today after a major fire ripped through a nearby car service centre in Aberdeen.
A baby was among six residents treated for smoke inhalation after the blaze broke out at Arnold Clark on Girdleness Road, Torry around 5am.
One woman was taken to hospital after thick black smoke blew towards nearby tenements, although her condition was not to be thought to be serious.
The presence of oil tanks and acetylene cylinders at the workshop was a factor in the evacuation and led to firefighters tackling the blaze from outside the building. Balnagask Community Centre was used as a support centre for people affected.
Ewan Murray, area service manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “We set up a rest centre at the community centre.
“We treated six casualties for smoke inhalation, including five females and an eight week old baby.
“One female has been taken to hospital.”
“The British Red Cross have come to look after people.”
One resident said he was woken by the sound of “popping and crackling” just after 5am.
Daniel Severin, 29, of Old Church Road, could also smell burning.
He said: “I didn’t know what it was until I went to the living room window.
“It was unbelievable – how big the fire was, and how quickly it was spreading.”
Local senior fire officer David Rout said around 100 tyres had fuelled the blaze.
He said: “We had 12 units in attendance and around 50 fire fighters.
“It was a fire involving a vehicle workshop.”
“We got the fire under control after approximately four hours.”
He added: “Both public safety and firefighter safety are our main concerns.
“We asked Police Scotland to issue public safety advice following the fire and I would like to thank the public for following that advice and for their co-operation whilst we continue to deal with this incident.”
A spokeswoman for Arnold Clark said: “We are aware of serious damage to the site and we are working to establish the full extent of this. It is our absolute priority to help all customers who had cars on site to be mobile again by offering a replacement rental car on a like for like basis where possible.
“We understand this is a hectic time of year and we are doing all we can to minimise the inconvenience to those affected, and we are working to reduce any disruption to the local community.
“The branch is currently closed however we will endeavor to transfer all appointments to our surrounding sites. At the moment an investigation is taking place and we will provide an update in due course.
“Our staff will contact customers today if their car has been affected and will arrange a temporary replacement vehicle by the end of today. In the meantime, customers with any questions can contact our Customer Services department on 0141 305 8328.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “Aberdeen City Council’s Care for People Plan swung into action this morning. Balnagask Community Centre was opened to receive residents affected by the smoke from the fire and the Red Cross was on hand to provide support for families.
“Our housing support staff have been on site to provide information and support, while social work colleagues have also been providing information for any vulnerable people requiring extra support.
“We are working closely with police and fire services and, once we are advised that families can return to their homes, the Care for People plan will be wound down. We do not expect that any families will need to be rehoused.”