RESIDENTS living near the site of a terrifying fire in Kilwinning have raised a major safety concern.

At present there are more than 70 Cunninghame Housing Association properties on the Byrehill estate, which is located just yards from the Fenix battery recycling plant which was engulfed by flames on the night of Monday, April 8.

Property developers Persimmon also have planning permission which could see as many as 426 further houses erected in the area around the Byrehill Place plant.

Building work on the Persimmon homes began earlier this year.

Irvine Times: Persimmon beginning construction at the site.

As fire crews continue to battle the blaze, with smoke still billowing around the Pennyburn area, one resident of the current estate shared her experience following the fire.

The woman - who asked to remain anonymous - left her home after the blaze broke out and is yet to return to her address.

She shared her experience from when she first became aware of the fire.

She commented: “I heard an alarm going off at first and looked out the window but couldn’t see anything.

“I messaged one of my neighbours to ask if they heard it as I wasn’t sure what it was, and within 10 minutes of me messaging her, you saw the building on fire with black smoke coming from it.

“I called her to make her aware of it, and messaged friends in the area to make sure they were okay.

“I was shocked. I just remember going into complete panic and was shaking.

“The first thing I did was called the fire service, who were great on the call and did call me back with more advice, as I was more concerned due to having a one-year-old baby in the house.”

Irvine Times: The Byrehill Estate.

It was then, after receiving further information from emergency services, that she opted to leave.

The Byrehill resident explained: “I didn’t know what was happening until the fire brigade came and explained to us about the chemicals.

“They stated to keep all windows and doors closed, but I was still afraid of the fumes with my baby in the house, so I asked if we would be safe.

“He said to me if I have anywhere I can go then I could leave, which I did.

“I evacuated my property around 10.30pm and have had no information on when I can go back to the house or what is happening, other than meetings to find out what type of batteries are used in this building.

“I understand this is something that is rare to happen in our area, and I know the fire and police departments are trying to do everything they can to help us, which is great, and they have been a great help with whatever information they have.”

The woman added that though she had since returned to her house since to collect possessions, she does not expect a speedy return home.

She continued: “My house smells like chemicals. I went into my house earlier today to collect some clothes and things I need but I was struggling to breathe with the toxins, it was so strong.

“The information provided just now is to stay indoors and keep all windows and doors closed, but the fumes are already in the houses.

“I’ve had headaches and a sore chest from going into my property to collect things, never mind staying in the property.

“I think that it is certainly not safe to be in any of the houses in the area with that amount of chemicals circulating.”

The whole ordeal has brought to light one major safety concern, which is shared by many residents in the area.

Irvine Times: Emergency crews remain at the scene of a large fire which took hold at a battery recycling plant in

There is currently only one route to and from the estate, via Byrehill Place on to Pennyburn Road.

Access arrangements have been raised as a concern in the past and this week's fire has brought them to the fore again, especially with more houses now being built in the area.

The woman commented: “The road is a major concern and most of the residents have stated the same thing.

Irvine Times: The road into the housing estate.

“It was from the start, as it was the only access in and out of the street, but even more so now after this major incident.

“When leaving the area last night, the road was just full of smoke. You couldn’t see the road at all and as it was the only road to get out of the estate, we had to drive by the building on fire.

“It’s definitely not been thought through with a battery recycling unit right next to houses.

“If the fire was to have spread last night, nobody would have been able to get out the street unless on foot. But with kids sleeping, dogs, bags this isn’t the best option nor the quickest in a situation like this.”

Irvine Times: The fire after breaking out.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “Byrehill Place, leading to the West Byrehill area, is designed as a traffic distributor road and links with the Pennyburn distributor road, leading to the strategic road network.

“The West Byrehill housing development has been designed to comply with the Council’s Roads Development Guide. The road, as designed, is appropriate to serve up to 1,000 dwellings via a single access.

“The existing walking routes into the site from Stevenston Road and Pennyburn Road are required to be upgraded by the housing developer, as part of the planning permission for the housing developments, in order to provide safe routes for walking, cycling and wheeling to West Byrehill to support active travel and reduce reliance on vehicular journeys."