It will be tomorrow before it will be safe to carry out a forensic examination of a fish processing plant at Baltimore in west Cork which has been badly damaged by fire, gardaí have said.

The blaze at the Ilen Seafood plant on the Oldcourt to Balimore Road broke out shortly after 10am this morning.

Two office staff were safely evacuated from the building. A nearby primary school at Rath was also evacuated as a precaution.

The company processes fish and is understood to employ up to 30 workers on a seasonal basis.

Ten units of the Cork County Fire Service from Bantry, Skibbereen, Schull, Midleton, Mallow and Ballincollig brought the blaze under control, but it has extensively damaged the fish processing building and nearby equipment and vans.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer David Hickey said while the fire is under control, it continues to burn in a number of areas on the site.

Fire crews pumping sea water to tackle the fire

Initially local water pressure was an issue, but pumps were used to extract seawater and firefighters also had access to two water tankers.

Firefighters are likely to remain at the scene for a number of hours to come.  

Local traffic diversions remain in place. 

Firefighters from Skibbereen, Bantry and Schull are at the scene (Pic: Best Photos of Baltimore)