THE devastating blaze at Woodmill High School has been described as one of the biggest fires in Scotland this year.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area manager Roddy Keith likened the scale of the incident in magnitude to the Glasgow School of Art fire which made headlines last June.

Firefighters in attendance included a former Woodmill pupil and the dad of a current fifth-year student.

Roddy told the Press: "To see the school in that state was a shock.

"It was a big job, a tough fire and it was hard going.

"We did our absolute best to put out that fire but, despite our best efforts, the kids are going to be out of the school for a while.

"This is certainly one of the worst fires in recent times.

"The former Inverkeithing Primary School fire was big last year but didn't require the number of resources needed last week.

"It has been a busy year for us, there have been 800 call-outs from the West Fife area."

At the height of the blaze, more than 80 firefighters and 15 appliances were at the scene from several stations.

It was categorised as a level five fire, deemed the most serious under fire service guidelines.

Firefighters were working in extreme conditions and were sent into the burning building at one stage in the battle to stop the flames from damaging any more of the school.

Two firefighters had to be taken to hospital suffering from the effects of heat during the operation.

Crews remained on site for more than 48 hours to ensure all pockets of flames had gone.

Ian Braid, who has served in the fire service for 22 years, was one of the first on the scene when the alarm was raised around 5pm. His daughter is a current pupil at Woodmill High.

"I was with the third pump that was sent there but we had to request more appliances and that just increased as the night went on," he told the Press.

"I was on a day shift so was there from 5-8.30pm.

"Initially, we thought we had it under control but with fire, you just never know what will happen. It just spread uncontrollably.

"It's a shock when it is your own daughter's school. My elder daughter is also a former pupil. It was a hard day."

David McGowan, deputy chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said his crews did a "superb" job at protecting the main wing of the school.

While the Department for Additional Support and other sections were decimated by the flames, parts of the main three-storey building were saved.

"That's because we had firefighters inside on the ground floor," he said.

"The work firefighters did in that particular section of the building, under extreme circumstances was amazing.

"They managed to save 50 per cent of the three-storey wing at the back of the school. The fire was well developed in the school building. The only way to stop it was to go inside to the heart of the fire."