Historic Fort building gutted by early hours blaze

Firefighters examine the wrecked remains of the Pier Head takeaway, adjoining barber shop and beauty salon in Fort William’s West End on Monday. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO-F50-FORT-WILLIAM-FIRE-04-scaled.jpg
Firefighters examine the wrecked remains of the Pier Head takeaway, adjoining barber shop and beauty salon in Fort William’s West End on Monday. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO-F50-FORT-WILLIAM-FIRE-04-scaled.jpg

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One of Fort William’s historic buildings in the town’s West End has been almost totally destroyed by a blaze which broken out in the early hours of Monday morning.

Fire appliances and crews from Fort William, Kinlochleven and Oban were reported to have rushed to the scene of the fire in the town’s Station Square after the alarm was raised around 3.55am.

Firefighters battled flames and smoke throughout the night, but the Pier Head chip shop and takeaway together with John Wilson Barbershop and a beauty salon were burned out.

Fire crews remained at the scene for a number of hours after the fire was extinguished to monitor the building to check for any remaining hotspots.

In a statement, Police Scotland, which had officers also on site assisting the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, told the Lochaber Times: ‘Around 3.55am on Monday, December 7, police were called to a report of a fire in Station Square, Fort William.  Officers are still at the scene.’

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service added: ‘Operations Control mobilised three fire appliances and one height appliance to the scene and firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. There were no reported casualties.’

The A82 southbound dual carriageway was closed in Fort William to ensure the emergency services had room to operate.

Posting on his Facebook page on Monday, Mr Wilson thanked local residents for their messages of support: ‘Dear people of Fort William, thank you so much for all your kind words it means a lot.

‘I am heartbroken with losing the shop and thanks for all the nice offers which I will think over and decide what to do.’

By Tuesday, Mr Wilson was saying he was hopeful he could be back trading soon at an alternative location.

Aylie McMinn, the owner of the Aylz, Nailz and beauty salon, which was also damaged in the fire, posted on social media: ‘Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has reached out, with offers of help, support, spaces to use in the meantime etc. You have no idea how much it means!’