A PROBE has been launched into a fierce fire that gutted two houses in Inverkip.

Scottish Fire and Rescue is yet to say what caused the inferno that ripped through adjacent detached properties on Findhorn Crescent on Sunday evening.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene around 5.30pm after the alarm was raised and stunned neighbours looked on.

Crews from six appliances fought the flames for hours as surrounding householders were evacuated from their properties to Inverkip Community Hub.

Inverclyde Council's building control service have also attended to examine the safety of the gutted properties.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "We were alerted at 5.35pm on Sunday to reports of a fire affecting two properties on Findhorn Crescent, Inverkip.

"Operations control mobilised six appliances to extinguish the fire.

"There are no reported casualties at this time."

The blaze was close to the gas main, so the council arranged for Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to open and operate the community centre to support residents.

All residents except those directly affected by the blaze were able to return to their homes within a few hours.

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: "Due to a house fire in Inverkip and concern for how it was affecting other properties and how close it was to the gas main some homes were evacuated.

"In these circumstances the council’s emergency planning arrangements kick in to support the community and emergency services.

"Our Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership colleagues arranged to open Inverkip Community Hub to support residents and had started to put in place emergency arrangements for potential longer support if required.

"After advice from Scottish Gas Networks and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service most were allowed to safely return to their homes with the exception of the properties directly affected.

"In addition, our building control service was deployed to support the fire service in examining the safety of the buildings directly affected by the fire.

"Thankfully there are no serious injuries reported as a result of this incident."

Bradley Barlow, spokesperson for gas distribution company SGN, said: "Our engineers attended a property in Findhorn Crescent in Inverkip at the request of the emergency services.

"We isolated the gas supply to the property as a precaution and carried out checks to make the area safe.

"The emergency services are continuing to investigate the cause and we will continue to support their investigation."