FIRE crews are battling a major blaze which has broken out at a 175-year-old former Free Gaelic Church building.

Dozens of firefighters are tackling the large-scale fire in Greenock, which broke out on Thursday evening. 

Huge flames could be seen billowing from the top of the building on the town's Jamaica Street, while smoke has blanketed much of the area.

The building dates back to 1843 and was once the home of the Free Gaelic Church in the town. 

More recently, it has been used as a furniture warehouse and shop. It is not thought anyone has been injured in the blaze. 

Stunned residents living nearby posted pictures and videos on social media showing flames leaping high into the night sky.

The blaze was visible from the town's Lyle Hill, roughly a mile away. 

The Herald:

The blaze lit up the night sky Pic: David R Foster

The Herald:

The building is close to Greenock town centre Pic: @Fenwick47 (Twitter)

The interior of the building, which houses a small memorial to members of the congregation who died in the First World War, was shown to have been completely comsumed by the blaze.

The fire is believed to have started at around 5pm, with 10 fire engines called to the scene.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said: "SFRS was alerted at 5.07pm on Thursday, December 27, to reports of a building fire in Greenock. 

"Operation control mobilised a number of fire engines to the town's Jamaica Street."

The Herald:  The warehouse recently pic: Google Earth

The spokeswoman added: "When firefighters arrived they were met with a large and well-developed fire. Crews currently remain on the scene to extinguish the fire. 

"We currently have 10 appliances in attendance."

A funeral home nearby was forced to move bodies to another premises as fire crews tackled the blaze.

In a post on their Facebook page, Green Oak funerals said that their landlines were unavailable but "all loved ones were being cared for in our Port Glasgow premises".