The second fire to hit a West Lothian town in less than a month has left the local leisure centre destroyed.
Plumes of thick black smoke could be seen in surrounding towns as the XCite Leisure Centre in Whitburn was engulfed in flames after what appeared to be an electrical fault. Part of the building – which was made mainly of wood – collapsed.
The fire brigade were called just before 2pm on Saturday 23rd of July, and 49 people were evacuated. There are no reports of any injuries.
A local resident said: “It’s so sad. The sports centre had only been done up recently. It’ll be a huge miss to the town.”
The smell of smoke reached across Whitburn and the main street was closed off for several hours.
A message posted on the XCite website reads: “Xcite Whitburn is currently closed due to a fire. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and encourage you to use one of our other venues.”
The leisure centre was a hub of the community, hosting everything from regional swimming galas to tea dance sessions.
On the 27th of June this year, the Miners’ Welfare club in the same close-knit town burned to the ground in unexplained circumstances. Around 50 firefighters and nine fire engines from seven stations were used to tackle that blaze, during which around 30 elderly residents of a neighbouring sheltered housing complex had to be evacuated.
Both incidents will have a huge impact on the small community of around 15,000 residents.