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Tributes after ‘respected businessman’ dies in Highland garage fire

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An investigation is continuing into a fire in Golspie in which a respected local businessman and father-of-four died.

The victim has not been formally identified but was named locally as Roger Harrison, believed to be in his 70s.

The alarm was raised around 5.40pm on Friday following the outbreak in Main Street, close to the Stag’s Head Hotel.

It is understood a passer-by had called to Mr Harrison’s home to alert him to the blaze.

The road was closed as fire, police and ambulance crews arrived on the scene and members of the public were advised to stay away from the vicinity.

Firefighters from Golspie, whose station is only a few hundred yards away, were quickly on the scene and were joined by crews from Dornoch and Helmsdale. They spent nearly three hours tackling the outbreak using four hose reel jets and two sets of breathing apparatus.

A police spokeswoman said: “Inquiries have been carried out and initial indications are that there are no suspicious circumstances.  A formal identification has still be carried out and no details of the deceased will be released at this stage.”

‘It’s a real tragedy and a great shock’

The news shocked local residents.

Highland Councillor Richard Gale said: “The feeling locally is one of devastation. He was a well known and much respected fellow in the village and people knew him really well. So it’s a real tragedy and a great shock.”

Rev Eric Paterson, from Golspie Free Church, said: “This is so hard to take in. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family. So sad.”

People also took to the village’s community social media page to write messages of condolence. One post read: “Absolutely devastating news. Thinking of the family at this very difficult time, plus the emergency services and the village. A tragedy like this will affect the whole community.”

Local people said Mr Harrison, who was married to Gloria and had two sons, Jimmy and Stewart, and two daughters, Pauline and Joanne, moved north to Golspie from London several decades ago. In the 1990s he ran a popular fish and chip shop in Main Street which was subsequently taken over by his son Jimmy before being sold on.

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