An overnight blaze has totally destroyed a dyeworks in Selkirk.
Six hours after the blaze was discovered, fire crews are still damping down the ruins of the Bridgehaugh mill in the Riverside area of the town.
Nearby residents spoke of a possible explosion just before 3am Thursday and told how the blaze rapidly engulfed the building.
And the boss of a local scaffolding firm whose home and office occupies one end of the destroyed building told us he, his wife and neighbours fled the threatening flames.
Sandy Pow told TheSouthern: “I was woken by someone banging on by door and shouting. I thought it was some yobs, but when I answered they told me to get out because of the fire next door.
“I looked along the building and within minutes it was totally engulfed by smoke and flames.
“We built a firewall between us and the dyeworks about 10 years ago and that’s what stopped the fire spreading. I have no doubt that it saved lives.”
Mr Pow, his wife Sheila and three neighbours have been unable to return to their homes.
Nearby resident James McCallum told us: “I was woken just before three o’clock by what sounded like an explosion.
“When I looked out there were flames everywhere and the whole building was soon ablaze.”
Eight pumping appliances, a height appliance and specialised support teams attended.
They were praised by Mr Pow.
He told us: “They were truly magnificent. Very professional in everything they did.”
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said they had no reports of an explosion, but investigations were under way.
Fire officers took advice from scientific advisors about any threat from the variety of mixed chemicals used on the site.
And nearby residents were advised to keep doors and windows closed.
The company has a workforce of about 24 and bosses are on the scene as workers gaze at the smouldering ruins.
PHOTOGRAPHS: GRANT KINGHORN