Two workers suffered injuries after an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in the Scottish Borders.
Emergency crews got the call to the blaze at Rathburn Chemicals in Walkerburn at 6.45 a.m. Friday.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said specialist units were deployed due to “potentially harmful” chemicals at the site. The Scottish Ambulance Service said two workers were taken to Borders General Hospital. Their condition is not known. Scottish Borders Council said Walkerburn Primary School was closed as a result of the incident.
“I was saddened to hear that Rathburn Chemicals in Walkerburn caught fire this morning and my thoughts are with those who suffered injuries, said South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne. “Rathburn is very important to our community by providing jobs and wealth to our small village. I will be speaking to the owner to see if they need any assistance to ensure that we don’t lose the valuable contribution that they play.”
“At around 7 a.m. this morning Scottish Borders Council was notified by Police Scotland of a fire incident in Walkerburn, later declared a major incident,” a spokesperson said. “As a result of advice received from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service the Council closed Walkerburn Primary School due to its proximity to the incident location, as well as the A72 road which has since reopened. A number of households were evacuated as a precaution. A total of 26 people were accommodated in a rest center at the Village Hall and support was provided, before the residents were allowed to return home at lunchtime.”
As a result of the blast, debris from the incident “has been distributed into neighboring residential areas in the vicinity of Caberston Road, which the Council believes includes roof tiles which may contain asbestos,” the spokesman said.
“A risk assessment is being carried out, however we believe that the risk to the public is very low due to the type of material involved.
“Whilst the responsibility for the clean-up will be the responsibility of the site owners, Scottish Borders Council and partners are working closely with them to ensure that all public safety matters are dealt with as a priority.
“The aim is for specialist licensed contractors to be on site later today to commence clean-up operations. This may require access to some private property.
“Scottish Borders Council continues to work with partners in relation to the incident,” the spokesman said.
Rathburn Chemicals declined to comment.