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Turriff workers flee abattoir blaze

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A north-east abattoir was evacuated yesterday after a leaky boiler sparked a major fire alert.

Thick black smoke filled part of Woodhead Bros’ plant in Turriff just after noon.

Fire crews from across the north-east were scrambled to the Markethill Road factory, while it’s workforce was guided outside.

Firefighters took about an hour to bring the incident under control, using a hose reel jet and breathing apparatus. Two teams remained on the scene to damped down the affected area and extinguish any hidden hot pockets.

It is the second time in six years that the plant, one of Scotland’s main meat producers, has been hit by fire.

In April 2008, an electrical fault triggered a massive blaze which caused millions of pounds of damage. More than 80 firefighters battled the inferno at its height.

The abattoir is owned by supermarket giant Morrisons.

A spokesman said last night: “It appears that one of the boilers had a small leak and when liquid hit the hot floor, it created a lot of smoke. We believe there was some fire damage as well.”

He said the fire was contained to a small area inside the building.

No one was hurt in the incident and no livestock were affected.

The factory required major refurbishment following the last fire and was reopened in June 2009 by first minister Alex Salmond.

The company, which has a workforce of around 300, presented a £5,000 donation to the former Grampian Fire and Rescue service as a thank you for rescuing their building.

Woodhead Bros bought the Turriff premises in December 2004 from Irish owners Kepak. Around 8,000 lambs and 1,000 cattle are processed each week.

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