Nursery owners have praised the work of firefighters following a huge blaze at their premises.
Glenbervie Kindergarden in Stenhousemuir went up in flames on Sunday afternoon.
It took over 40 crew members and 11 appliances several hours to get the fire under control by which point much of the roof had been destroyed.
Helen Bell, from Bonnybridge, owns the nursery with husband Iain. She said the work of the firefighters in trying to save the historic Carron Grange building, next to Larbert High School, was incredible.
“We can’t thank Central Scotland Fire & Rescue Service enough,’’ she said. ‘‘They have been great and, without their hard work, I have no doubt the damage would be worse.”
The alarm was raised by neighbour Susie Tait (22) at around 3 p.m. after she noticed smoke coming from rear of the property.
Within minutes, the flames had taken over the roof and firefighters from Larbert, Falkirk, Denny, Stirling and Alloa fire stations had to battle to get it under control. The investigations unit is still determining the cause, with dogs being used to sniff out the origin.
The nursery opened in the B-listed building three years ago, adding to the Larbert branch situated next to North Broomage Social Club. The house is still owned by previous occupiers The Scottish Building Federation.
Helen, who was visiting relatives in Aberdeen when she was alerted to the fire, said: “We have no idea what could have caused the fire. No one had been in the building since Friday and the electric wiring was tested only weeks ago.
“When I got the call we rushed back down. I couldn’t believe what I saw. We had worked so hard to turn the building into a nursery and the house itself is lovely. Lots of the staff had come down and we were literally watching everything we had worked for go up in smoke.”
Helen and Iain were allowed in to the building on Monday to survey the damage. While the front of the building is relatively unscathed, the rear has been badly affected.
The nursery pets - a giant African snail, fish and two guinea pigs – sadly perished in the fire, despite the heroic efforts of one firefighter.
He entered the building three times to look for the pets, eventually returning with the guinea pigs who were rushed to the vet but sadly didn’t make it.
Nursery manager Bernadette Wells added: “It’s been a terrible time for the staff, children and parents but it’s also made us realise how great the community is.
“Everyone has been so kind. Springfield in Central Business Park has offered us an empty office to use as a nursery while Falkirk Council has given us the unused nursery at Bothkennar as a temporary measure.”
All children at Glenbervie Kindergarden are being catered for in other venues. visit www.glenberviekindergarden.co.uk for further information.