Glasgow fruit market fire to have major impact on deliveries

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A large fire in a Glasgow warehouse and produce market will have a knock-on effect for businesses across the west of Scotland, traders have said.

READ MORE - Firefighters tackle major fire at Glasgow warehouse

At the height of the blaze, more than 70 firefighters were involved in tackling the flames at Blochairn Fruit Market in the early hours of Thursday.

Employees at the market were safely evacuated but sales and deliveries of fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers to businesses across the country were badly impacted.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service believes a “good proportion” of the two-storey building has been maintained and traders could be allowed to return to the market on Thursday evening.

Driver James Lang, who works at the site, told BBC Radio Scotland: “Loads of people from Glasgow, Edinburgh and all over come in to get stock to keep shops and restaurants going.

Firefighters attend the scene of a blaze at Blochairn Fruitmarket. Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images

Firefighters attend the scene of a blaze at Blochairn Fruitmarket. Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images

“It will affect a lot of businesses today in Scotland and schools as well.

“It’s heart-breaking for me, I have 42 years’ history in the place because I was brought up in the market as a boy.”

Maureen Brogan, from traders J&P Brogan, said her units survived the fire but all traders will now need to “try and help each other”.

She said: “Thank God no-one has been injured, that is number one.

The fire began at 3.44am and residents reported hearing two loud explosions. Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images

The fire began at 3.44am and residents reported hearing two loud explosions. Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images

“We are actually one of the lucky ones, our units have not been touched. There are people who literally have nothing left and there will be people wondering if they have a job left.

“I genuinely feel for the other traders who have woken up to nothing.”

Ms Brogan said evacuating the site hit her deliveries for the day, but told BBC Radio Scotland: “That’s not going to be a huge problem, we will survive and nobody has died or been injured.”

Fire crews were called to the property in Blochairn Road, Royston, at 3.44am on Thursday.

The fire service said 12 fire engines and four aerial appliances had been involved in the operation and speed restrictions were put in place on the nearby M8 due to heavy smoke in the area.

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John Joyce said: “There is no doubt that this has been an extremely challenging incident, however the response and professionalism from our firefighters has been outstanding.

“The fire developed rapidly - however thanks to our quick assessment and action plans that were put into place, we were able to protect not only the community from harm, but ensure that the fire did not spread further in the market.”

City Property, which owns the site, praised the work of emergency services and is working to “establish alternative arrangements in order that normal business can resume as soon as possible”.

Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney said the market is vital to the area.

“The Blochairn Fruit Market employs over 400 people and provides produce for retailers and restaurants right across the west of Scotland,” he said.

“It is a key part of our economy, turning over £250 million worth of produce a year.

“I will be working closely with Glasgow City Council and City Property to ensure we protect the employees and traders and try to find temporary accommodation nearby for the businesses which have lost their premises.

“It is also important that we begin the regeneration of this market site at Blochairn just as soon as the fire has been extinguished - it is an area of Glasgow that can ill afford this kind of economic blow.”