City reel­ing from third ma­jor fire in three days

DRAMA: Fire­fight­ers out in force as Hill­town In­door Mar­ket is en­gulfed in flames

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - PETER JOHN MEIKLEM

Dundee was hit by the third se­ri­ous blaze in as many nights as fire ripped through busi­ness premises in the Hill­town area.

Fire­fight­ers bat­tled for hours to bring the in­ci­dent at the Hill­town In­door Mar­ket un­der con­trol.

The neigh­bour­ing Fit 4 Less gym was also heav­ily dam­aged. Gym-go­ers were evac­u­ated mo­ments be­fore the power failed by a man who had ar­rived to col­lect his wife from her class and rushed in when he saw the flames.

Lo­cals said the fire started in a sofa which had been left out­side the mar­ket. Four youths were seen leav­ing the area just be­fore it broke out.

It fol­lowed a night of drama on Tues­day when a blaze left Brae­view Academy gut­ted. Pupils will stay home un­til at least next week as Dundee City Coun­cil draws up a timetable for decanting them to other schools.

On Mon­day night a farm build­ing at Strath­mar­tine to the north of the city went up in flames, re­sult­ing in the deaths of a num­ber of an­i­mals.

Fire crews bat­tled a third ma­jor blaze in Dundee in as many nights as flames ripped through the Hill­town In­door Mar­ket and Fit 4 Less gym yes­ter­day.

More than 60 fire­fight­ers and nine ap­pli­ances raced to the scene af­ter the alarm was raised around 6pm.

Flames were seen leap­ing into the air and plumes of black smoke bil­lowed across the city sky­line for the third night in a row.

Brian Hick­man, 65, rushed into the build­ing af­ter see­ing the smoke to warn his wife Vanessa and the rest of her ex­er­cise class that a se­ri­ous fire was about to en­gulf the build­ing.

Af­ter first be­ing told there was “no need to evac­u­ate” he in­ter­rupted the gym class just as the lights failed and the alarm sounded.

“I told the girl be­hind the front desk and she said she had been told it was noth­ing se­ri­ous. I said I had to find my wife and went into the gym. I could smell smoke and I didn’t know where I was go­ing,” he said.

“When I went in they said what’s hap­pen­ing and I said there’s a fire you have to get out. With that the siren went out and there were no lights or any­thing.

“People were us­ing their phones for light. Every­body got out and I was one of the last people to leave the build­ing.”

It is be­lieved the fire be­gan when an old two-seater couch was set on fire next to the build­ing.

Mr Hick­man said he saw “four boys, typ­i­cal youth of to­day in hood­ies with their hands in their pock­ets” go round the cor­ner just min­utes be­fore the blaze broke out.

Around 15 people fled the ex­er­cise class, along with sev­eral more who had been us­ing other parts of the gym.

Kerri Tay­lor, 31, was work­ing in the Snug Bar across the road and called the emer­gency ser­vices when she saw “black smoke com­ing from what looked like a two-seater couch”.

“The fire spread through the build­ing in about 10 min­utes, I think,” she said. “Of course it was fright­en­ing. We saw the smoke and ev­ery­one knew that it was go­ing right through to the gym.”

Corinne Thain, 32, a sup­port worker, was trapped in the Snug Bar, un­able to go home as her car was parked in front of the build­ing and her keys were left in­side the gym in the rush to flee the fire.

“I’m a single mum and I can’t get home. I’m gut­ted and I’ve been sat here cry­ing,” she said.

Pic­ture: Steve MacDougall.

The fe­roc­ity of the blaze caused emer­gency ser­vices to close four streets.

Pic­tures: Steve MacDougall.

Above and right: fire crews on the scene tack­ling the huge fire at the Hill­town In­door Mar­ket and Fit 4 Less gym last night.

Pic­tures: Tam Harkin and Steve MacDougall.

Above: an aerial view of the fire as it tears through the Hill­town In­door Mar­ket. Below left: people gather to take a look and right, smoke and flames bil­low into the Dundee air.

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