HUNDREDS of school pupils were evacuated as a fire tore apart Cairneyhill Primary School this afternoon.

The alarm was raised around 1pm with more than 200 children escorted out of the playground as a blaze broke out at the school on Northbank Road.

Police confirmed every pupil was 'safe and well' as they were taken to the local church to be collected by parents and guardians, who had been alerted via a Fife Council group call message.

The council have now confirmed that the school will be shut on Monday and Tuesday next week, as the extent of the damage is discovered.

Neil Finnie, the council's Senior Compliance Officer, said: "The investigation into the fire is ongoing. We have notified parents today that the school will be closed to all pupils on Monday and Tuesday of next week. We will continue to work with colleagues on our contingency plan and further details of that will be available early next week."

The Press understands that the fire started in the junior school area of the building before spreading.

More than 30 firefighters were required at the height of the blaze, with seven appliances being called out.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and ensured there were no casualties before moving to locate the source of the fire.

Group Manager Richie Hall, the Incident Commander leading the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service response, said: "Firefighters from Dunfermline and Lochgelly were the first to arrive at the scene of this well-developed fire.

"They encountered very dense smoke and flames issuing from this single storey building.

"Those firefighters were soon joined by colleagues from Alloa and Falkirk, and they worked to ensure all pupils and staff were evacuated before turning their full focus on locating the source of the flames.

"It was a challenging environment but they did a tremendous job through difficult conditions to find that source, contain the fire - and then fight it.

"Their efforts meant that the fire, located in the centre of the building, was prevented from spreading any further.

"They are now searching for any further pockets of fire to ensure the building is made absolutely safe.

"I would like to commend all of the firefighters for their outstanding efforts in bringing this incident to a swift and safe conclusion.

"We are also grateful to all of our partners for working closely with us to ensure the safety of the local community.

"I must also pay credit to both the children and the school staff who evacuated quickly and calmly, and made their way to a place of safety."

Police Scotland Chief Inspector Irene Ralston, Area Commander for West Fife, said: "We are asking the public to avoid the area where possible as emergency services deal with this incident.

"Fortunately all staff and pupils were evacuated safely and we continue to support our partners as the fire is extinguished.

"Further updates will be issued on Fife Division's Facebook and Twitter page as the incident progresses."