FIRE ripped through Greenock Art Club’s Gourock Park studios in the early hours of yesterday morning.

A total of four appliances with 20 firefighters from Greenock and Gourock tackled the blaze for three hours from 1.50am, and they were still there damping it down at noon.

Greenock crew commander Paul McQueen said it started on the ground floor of the Stables Studio, off Broomberry Drive in Gourock Park.

He said a lot of hay was stored on the ground floor. Around 30 paintings were destroyed in the blaze.

It broke through the ceiling into the art club’s premises on the first floor, causing extensive damage.

Mr McQueen said: “Thousands of hours’ worth of art work was destroyed in the fire.

“It burned from the ground floor through the rafters, and the first floor fell down.” A member of the public raised the alarm.

It is not known yet what caused the fire.

No-one was injured.

The thriving club was established in 1877 and has members from throughout Inverclyde. The studios are used for painting and storing members’ works.

Regular sales of art are held at the studios.