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An electrical fire in a walk-in refrigerator has robbed Salar Hebridean Smokehouse in South Uist of all their stock, and forced a temporary business closure.

Staff arrived for work this morning (Monday 17 May) to find the building at the pier at Loch Carnan smoke-filled and called emergency services at 9.07am.

Two fire appliances from Benbecula and Lochmaddy attended and two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the shop with a hose-reel and used a thermal imaging camera to check for the source of the fire.

A spokesperson for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said that the fire had clearly burnt itself out, but left the premises smoke-tainted and one refrigerator, with all the stock inside it, badly damaged by fire.

It’s been estimated that up to £100,000 worth of stock has been destroyed or made unuseable by the fire.

The SFRS spokesperson said: “The fire appeared to have self-extinguished, probably through the absence of combustible material immediately around the source, which seemed to have been the fridge motor itself.”

It’s a heavy blow for the company, which has had to cope with the Covid interruption to their business and trying to maintain a mail order delivery service with a reduced staff team.

In a social media post today, a spokesperson for the company said: “This morning we turned up at the smokehouse and were met with an electrical fire in one of our walk-in fridges.

“The fire service and police attended and we are grateful for their quick response and professionalism. All our staff were safe and handled the situation with confidence.

“Unfortunately, we have lost all our produced stock and are now working as fast as we can to make the building safe to allow us to clear up and get back to work as soon as possible.

“The building is safe but we cannot yet use it. Please do not come out to the smokehouse at this time.

“Please bear with us while we get everything organised and back on track. This will not stop us producing the best smoked salmon, and we will be back up and running soon in true Hebridean fashion.”