Dozens of firefighters worked to save a former manse after flames were spotted “leaping” from the roof.
Eleven crews were called to the C-listed property in Longside yesterday, and worked to prevent the fire from spreading through the rest of the building.
The former manse, which dates back to 1825, is now a family home.
Nobody was in the property, which is behind Longside School on Inn Brae, when the fire broke out at 11.35am.
A total of 55 firefighters attended the scene, and took over the school’s playground to get access to the building.
But they were ordered out of the house when they realised the roof was likely to collapse, and tackled the flames from outside with the assistance of a height appliance.
Group manager Ally Birkett said the fire was “well-developed” by the time they arrived, with crews from Peterhead, Maud, Fraserburgh, Ellon, Oldmeldrum and Central called to assist.
He said: “Despite the efforts of the crews who worked hard in very difficult conditions, the fire spread to involve the roof.
“We had a huge team of firefighters working very hard to extinguish the fire and attempting to prevent it spreading to the remainder of the building.
“This we’ve managed to achieve.”
He added that he thought the lower two floors of the house were salvagable.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze will now be carried out.
George Marshall, secretary of St John’s Church in Longside, was on his way to see a friend when he spotted the incident.
He said: “I saw the smoke coming from the roof and there was nothing left but the rafters.
“The man I was visiting said the flames were leaping high in the air.
“It’s a shame because the people living there have lost everything.”
Officers had closed off Inn Brae to secure access to water and kept Glebefield, the house’s access road, closed to the public.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s such a huge old building – those old houses are so dry they go up so fast.
“The family have only been there a few years, I think.”
Parents of pupils in primary one to four at Longside School were asked by Aberdeenshire Council to collect their children slightly earlier than normal due to the lack of space.