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Fire crews tackle blaze at old Viewforth High building in Kirkcaldy

Firefighters tackling the blaze.
Firefighters tackling the blaze.

Firefighters have tackled a fierce blaze at a former Kirkcaldy secondary school.

The alarm was raised at 5.39pm on Monday evening when passers-by spotted smoke billowing from the old Viewforth High School building on Loughborough Road.

Four appliances were initially called to the scene, with two crews from Kirkcaldy, one from Burntisland and one from Methil in attendance.

A height appliance from Kirkcaldy was also used as firefighters tried to contain the incident, although a further fire engine called upon from Dunfermline was stood down.

Fire at the old Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy<br />(c) David Wardle

It appears the fire took hold in the roof space of the school’s B-listed annexe, formerly known as Eastbank House, and it is understood that part of the building has collapsed.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said officers were supporting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in dealing with a “substantial fire”, although they could give no further details about the suspected cause.

Police cordoned off the road between Aitken Street and Viewforth Gardens to allow the emergency services in, although it is understood no-one has been injured.

Witnesses have suggested that the flames were visible from the town’s Esplanade.

A full investigation is expected to be carried out to determine the exact circumstances behind the blaze.

The building dates back to around 1870 and was initially occupied by John Scott, a local engineer and shipbuilder.

Eastbank was then bought by Henry William Hutchison, of East Bridge Flour Mills, in 1902 and significant alternations were carried out before Fife County Council later purchased the building in 1929.

Fife Council confirmed back in 2012 that it was looking at ways to replace the buildings at Viewforth High after they were rated as amongst the poorest condition of secondary schools across the region, and education chiefs went on to pursue plans to incorporate Viewforth High as part of the new Windmill Campus, which opened in 2016, to cater for the rising population in eastern Kirkcaldy.

That meant that 108 years of history came to an end in the summer of 2016 when the old Viewforth High School closed its doors for the final time, and the sight of the famous building going up in smoke on Monday evening would have been a sad one for many.

Listed building consent for partial demolition of part of the school building and demolition of free standing buildings, was granted in 2016 as talks over the future of the site continued.

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