A MASSIVE blaze which broke out at Anderson Marine on Kirk Street in Peterhead on Thursday night, is being investigated by Police and Grampian Fire Brigade.
Several large explosions were heard at the rear of the FreshCatch plant at around 6.30pm, as fire crews from across Aberdeenshire raced to the scene.
Grampian Fire and Rescue and Grampian Police requested that residents remain indoors, close windows and stay away from the Kirk Square area of town.
Vast crowds and large volumes of traffic gathered to try and get a glimpse of the blaze causing problems in the centre and approaches to the town.
It is understood the blaze broke out around 6.15pm in the Anderson Marine boat shed located to the rear of the fish processing factory.
Thick bellowing smoke was seen across town as the fire took hold, with residents reporting a number of large explosions with debris strewn across several town centre streets.
At one point the building’s roof collapsed, flames shooting into the air.
Fire fighters battled for several hours to contain the blaze, while police cordoned off the area.
During the height of the blaze Peterhead Lifeboat was launched to recover two small inflatable dinghies, and their occupants in Peterhead bay.
The dinghies were making their way towards the fire on the edge of the bay at Peterhead.
Aberdeen coastguard had instructed the lifeboat to approach the occupants of the dinghies and make them aware of the dangers of getting close to a large fire, and comment on the lack of safety gear and lifejackets.
The five young occupants, who were totally uninjured, and the two dinghies were then recovered and taken to the marina at Peterhead bay.
Meanwhile, Police and fire investigation units were still at the Kirk Street plant on Friday morning as the clean-up operation began.
Although Anderson Marine operates from within the FreshCatch building, the processing firm was not affected by any fire damage.
FreshCatch management issued a statement on Friday saying that the firm was “fully operational” adding: “The fire last night at Kirk Square in Peterhead was at a building occupied by Anderson Marine – boat builders.
“It was nothing to do with the FreshCatch Ltd factory and no fire damage or smoke damage was sustained to this factory. The factory is fully operational and ready to start herring processing when the season starts at the beginning of August.”
A spokesman for Grampian Police confirmed that a joint investigation was being carried out to determine the cause of the fire. The premises are currently closed.”