City reeling from third major fire in three days
DRAMA: Firefighters out in force as Hilltown Indoor Market is engulfed in flames
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.
The ferocity of the blaze caused emergency services to close four streets.
Above and right: fire crews on the scene tackling the huge fire at the Hilltown Indoor Market and Fit 4 Less gym last night.
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.