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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Glasgow blast toll reaches eight
Cranes lifting wreckage
Cranes have been lifting sections of the roof from the wreckage site
An eighth body has been recovered from the site of a Glasgow factory destroyed by an explosion on Tuesday.

Rescue chiefs say the search will continue for as long as is necessary for the remaining missing man following the the blast at Stockline Plastics.

Strathclyde Firemaster Brian Sweeney insisted it was still possible that the man could be found alive.

The eighth body was found at about 0045 BST on Thursday after sections of the roof had been lifted off the building.

"We discovered an eighth victim of this tragedy. We still believe there to be one person trapped underneath that rubble," Mr Sweeney said.

"We have fresh teams, fresh crews and fresh dogs on site this morning. We remain optimistic, sleeves are rolled up and morale is high."

The search will continue as long as there's hope and as long as I am persuaded it is worth risking my firefighters' lives to save life
Firemaster Brian Sweeney
By 0700 BST, less than 50% of the site had been searched, the firemaster told reporters.

There had been no sound of voices from beneath the rubble since the early hours of Wednesday morning, but he remained hopeful that the remaining victim of the blast could still be alive.

He said: "We've had no vocal contact but that doesn't mean that the previous vocal contacts aren't just a person who's now unconscious, trapped in a void and waiting for us to rescue them.

"We're putting in even more effort to give anyone who could have survived that the best possible chance.

"The search will continue as long as there's hope and as long as I am persuaded it is worth risking my firefighters' lives to save life."

Tracey McErlane, Margaret Brownlie and Peter Ferguson
(Pictured left) Tracey McErlane, 27, Possilpark
(Centre) Margaret Brownlie, 49, Strathaven
(Right) Peter Ferguson, 52, Kilbarchan
Ann Trench, 34, Colston, Glasgow
Annette Doyle, 24, Glasgow
Thomas McAulay, 41, Mount Florida
Stewart McColl, 60, West Kilbride
Mr Sweeney said that fresh sniffer dogs had been drafted in because the noses of the previous ones had become contaminated by dust.

He hoped that with 75% of the building's roof now removed, they would find it easier to detect any signs of life.

He said of the eighth victim: "This is one of two anticipated casualties that was in the building.

"Given that slight setback, my optimism remains high and we hope that the one remaining person in that building is still alive."

On Thursday, police said one person who had been in a serious condition at the Southern General Hospital was now stable and two are "comfortable".

Three remain serious at Glasgow Royal Infirmary where five are "stable" and one has been discharged.

At the Western Infirmary, six are serious and at the Victoria Infirmary, one person is "comfortable".

Eighty firemen are still at the scene, among them crews from as far afield as Manchester and London.

Police have named the first seven people confirmed dead in the blast.

They are: Ann Trench, 34; Margaret Brownlie, 49; Tracy McErlane, 27; Peter Ferguson, 52; Annette Doyle, 24; Thomas McAulay, 41; and company director Stewart McColl, 60.

Tired firemen take a break from the search for the missing man
Tired firemen take a break from the search for the missing man
Mr McColl, Stockline Plastics' chief executive, is believed to have been working on the fourth floor of the building at the time of the blast.

His daughter Sheena, who worked alongside him, is thought to be seriously ill in hospital.

Ms McErlane gave birth to a baby boy last year and the Daily Record reported that Ms Trench had been due to leave the company on Friday to start a new job.

The cause of the explosion which destroyed the four-storey building in Grovepark Road, Maryhill, on Tuesday is under investigation.

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell visited the site and pledged a "full and thorough investigation" into the circumstances of the tragedy.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, Conservative leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy united to send their condolences to the families of the victims.

The BBC's Andrew Cassell reports from Glasgow
"This is a race against time to find any survivors"

Firemaster Brian Sweeney
"My message to families is: 'We carry on searching'"

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