Taynuilt rallies round after fire devastates hotel

Fire-stricken Taynuilt Inn

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A crowdfunder has raised more than £13,000 in less than 24 hours to help a couple whose home and business was ravaged by fire as flames tore through the Taynuilt Inn.

Jordan and Lesley Foster were left with nothing but the clothes on their back after the blaze broke out in the early hours of Tuesday September 21.

The Gofundme page was set up by Christine Fox who said: ‘After a fire ravaged Lesley and Jordan’s business and home in the early hours of September 21, they’ve been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

‘They and their team worked tirelessly to re-open the Taynuilt Inn and it’s been a fantastic asset and hub of the community.

‘They’re left this morning with nothing and if anyone could donate to help them get clothes, food and things for the dog till they get sorted.’

One hour after setting up the online page for donations, £2,100 had been raised by 44 well-wishers. Taynuilt Post Office is also taking donations.

Work has now started to bring down some of the building including a chimney, it has been reported.

The A85 was shut in both directions yesterday but is now open again with  a traffic light system in use.

Taynuilt Primary School and early learning centre also shut for the day because of no water as fire crews from Oban and Inveraray tackled the blaze first reported to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at 5.07am. Elsewhere in the village, people had been left with low-pressure or no water.

No-one was hurt in the fire. It is understood all staff and guests were evacuated safely.

The village hall was opened for anyone needing shelter, the nearby Brander Lodge opened to offer teas and coffees to anyone stuck in traffic or from the hotel. A guesthouse in Dalmally also went online to offer two rooms free-of-charge for tonight for anyone needing to relocated and who was directly affected by the blaze.

Taynuilt community council convener David Sloss said: ‘The hotel is a very important part of the village’s social and economic life and we were looking forward to it being an even bigger part of it as covid restrictions ended. The worry is what will happen to it next.

‘What has been heartening is seeing how many people spontaneously came forward to offer any help they could. The hall opened for shelter, people were on standby offering accommodation.

‘It is a mark of the community we are.’

Lorna MacLennan from Taynuilt Post Office helped organise a lift home to Glasgow for one couple who had been staying at the hotel. ‘They were just in their nightclothes. They were going to try and get a train but we organised a lift home for them. They had to leave their car in the hotel car park because the key was lost with everything else they had in their room. The whole community has  come together to help how ever they can.’

It is understood there were five overnight guests staying in the hotel when it happened.