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An award-winning Scottish smoked salmon business has pledged to ‘come back stronger’ after a devastating fire.
Lucy Burke, general manager of the family-owned Inverawe Smokehouses, spoke of their relief that no-one was injured in a blaze which broke out at its Taynuilt premises shortly before 4pm on Friday (January 15).
It was confined to the smokery building where fish are smoked 24/7. Friday is not a working day for factory staff so no one was put in any danger, she explained.
Ms Burke told The Oban Times today: ‘Nobody got hurt and for us that’s absolutely the main thing. Buildings are buildings and people are people.
‘We are not 100 per cent sure what happened and the fire service will do an investigation and hopefully be able to tell us.
‘The facts are that a fire was seen in the building and the fire service was called and it took hold quickly.’
Firefighters got there as fast as they could and remained onsite until late to ensure the scene was safe, she said.
Ms Burke expressed her grateful thanks for the ‘skill and support’ of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, with five appliances in attendance at the height of the fire.
For the time being, production – such as smoking and slicing – is out of action at the business which employs 30 staff.
However, its storage, packaging and dispatching area is in a separate building and was unaffected.
Ms Burke said: ‘We can continue in the short term as we obviously have stock and we can fulfill orders and we will be fulfilling orders in the short term.
‘On the dispatching side – getting parcels out of the door – it’s business as usual on Monday.
‘We have some contingencies and obviously it’s early days and we still need to work things through, but we feel confident that we can carry on.’
She described the firm as a ‘resilient family business’ with ‘amazing staff’.
‘We have to see it as an opportunity to drive the business forward. It’s an ill wind, as they say, but we are definitely going to come back stronger. It’s onwards and upwards and things can get better from here.’
She added: ‘You just get the feeling from everybody here that it’s a case of ‘okay, this has happened, it’s devastating but we are going to come back’.
‘We have very loyal customers and we are sure they will help us through and there has been a real outpouring from the community wishing us all the best.
‘We thank the community for their support – it really means a lot.’
The multi-award winning business started by the parents of current owner Patrick Campbell-Preston began as a fish farm in 1974.
It added a smokery in the early-1980s and specialises in Scottish smoked salmon and traditional foods with a global customer base and a Royal Warrant, a mark of recognition of those who have supplied goods to The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales.
Photo: Appliances from Oban, Bridge of Orchy and Inveraray were required after the fire broke out at the site of the Inverawe Smokehouses at 3.47pm on Friday, January 15. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn