The man behind plans to revive a major Dundee marketplace has said he is “devastated” that the building appears to have been completely destroyed by fire.
More than 60 firefighters battled for hours from just before 6.30pm on Wednesday to bring the blaze at Hilltown Indoor Market – which was due to reopen in just a week’s time – under control.
The neighbouring Fit4Less gym, which was evacuated, was also badly damaged. There were no reports of any injuries.
The blaze was the third to hit Dundee in as many nights, with Braeview Academy and a farm building at Strathmartine also going up in flames.
Police are now investigating the blaze and have called for any witnesses to come forward.
Inspector Cath Lannen said: “Inquiries are at an early stage and we will work jointly with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blaze. The building has been extensively damaged.
“There are road closures still in place at Caldrum Street and Thistle Street and I would like to thank motorists for their patience while this is ongoing.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area around the time of the fire to come forward and contact us on 101, or call Crimestoppers Scotland anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Gary Gallagher, a former trader at Hilltown Indoor Market, said he had been working voluntarily to help the premises reopen.
He said: “It now looks likely that the building is going to have to be demolished.
“We were just waiting for the completion certificate and were about a week away from opening.
“When I heard about the fire I rushed down and stayed there until after midnight.
“By the time I left the building looked to be in a pretty bad way.
“This is very bad news but there’s nothing we can do about it – we will just have to start looking around for new premises.”
Witnesses reported seeing walls of the building collapsing as the fire took hold.
Local resident and Fit4Less gym member Ken Peters, 67, said: “It’s absolutely terrible when something like this happens.
“They had put money in and were just starting to refurbish the premises, then this happens.”