Warehouse blaze forces schools and rig evacuation

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren were sent home and an oil rig was evacuated yesterday as firefighters tackled a blaze at a harbour warehouse.

A 200-metre exclusion zone was thrown around the large storage shed containing fish meal at the East Docks in Invergordon after the fire broke out shortly after 4am.

Some 820 pupils from the Park and South Lodge primaries in the town and Invergordon Academy had to leave their classes on the advice of police amid fears they might be affected by smoke. An oil rig in the Cromarty Firth was also evacuated and residents of the town were told to remain indoors with windows and doors closed.

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No-one was in the building at the time of the fire and there are no reported injuries.

Emergency services reassured residents that the fire did not pose a serious risk, although the smoke could cause mild irritation.

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said: "There is no risk to the public as this is a non-toxic fire. However, there may be a discernible odour. The public are advised to keep their windows and doors shut."