Dozens of pensioners were evacuated from an Aberdeenshire care home for hours yesterday after a fire broke out in the roof of the building.
Fast-acting carers rushed to assist the 29 elderly residents from the Ythanvale home in Ellon at about noon.
The shaken pensioners were taken by bus to the Ellon Resource Centre while firefighters used a height appliance to douse the blaze.
Fire chiefs later praised staff for their quick evacuation of the building – with residents moved to safety within 20 minutes.
Last night the chief officer of the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership revealed other carers, employed elsewhere in the town, had dropped everything to offer their help.
Adam Coldwells said: “Carers around the Ellon area rushed to the home to help their colleagues.
“Staff at the Ellon Resource Centre then drove a bus round to transport the residents there.
“It was a slight change to the normal routine, but the residents were very well looked-after.
“They had lunch while we waited to hear if they could get back to the building, and the fire service was certainly impressed with the speed staff had managed to evacuate.”
The fire started in a garden shed in the Ythanvale grounds before spreading to the eaves of the main building.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “We mobilised four fire appliances to Park Road where we extinguished the fire within the roof space of the single-storey building.
“All residents have been evacuated and the Scottish Ambulance Service was on scene to provide precautionary checks to those who required it.
“Crews left the scene after ensuring the area was made safe.”
Residents remained at the Resource Centre – around 1,000ft from the home – while smoke was ventilated from the building and safety checks were made.
They were allowed to return to Ythanvale by 5pm, and were treated to fish and chips for tea after their trying day.
Mr Coldwells added: “I’m really pleased the contingency plans kicked in and worked, and the centre was able to accommodate nearly 30 residents and all our Ythanvale staff too.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that staff managed to get all the residents out and safe so quickly.
“I can’t praise them enough.
“Along with the firefighters, it was a fantastic response to an extremely unfortunate situation.”