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Man, 24, arrested in connection with Highland hotel fire

The West Highland Hotel in Mallaig.
The West Highland Hotel in Mallaig.

A man has been arrested after a fire broke out at west coast hotel overnight.

Firefighters battled for more than 10 hours to save the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig after the alarm was raised.

Crews from Mallaig and Fort William were called to the three-star hotel on Davies Brae shortly after 9.30pm.

Owners Gavin and Sine Davis have since confirmed online that, although the fire has “badly damaged” the hotel, it has been confined to one area.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire, as the hotel is currently closed – but Mr and Mrs Davis have vowed to reopen, as planned, next month.

They wrote: “Although the hotel is badly damaged, it is mostly confined to one area of the hotel and thankfully there was nobody inside.

“We fully intend to open as planned in February, albeit with reduced rooms. We look forward to thanking you in person then.”

Police have now confirmed a 24-year-old has been arrested in connection with the incident.

A police spokeswoman said: “Around 9.55pm on Monday, January 3, officers were called to a report of a fire at the West Highland Hotel in Mallaig. Officers attended and a 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with this incident.

“Inquiries are continuing.”

Fire crews used a main jet and thermal imaging camera to bring the blaze under control. They left the scene at about 8am.

It is not the first time a fire has broken out on the site of the hotel, with the existing West Highland Hotel built to replace the Station Hotel after it was destroyed by flames in 1927.

Messages of support flood in for hoteliers

The devastated hotel owners have now thanked all those involved for their “help, support and kind messages” – and for those who raised the alarm with the emergency services.

Ronnie MacLellan wrote: “Very sorry to hear this shocking news. It’s a relief to know that no one came to harm and that the fire was not on the scale of that of over 90 years ago. Having a local volunteer fire service proves itself invaluable on such a calamity as this.

“The West Highland is a phoenix and under your good stewardship Sine and Gavin, will recover soon to continue to set the highest standard of Highland hospitality for which it is renowned.”

Fionna Downie, a former customer to the hotel, wished the owners all the best as they try to rebuild what has been lost.

She wrote: “Shocked to hear this terrible news but thankfully no one was hurt.

“We stayed there three years ago and had a very pleasant weekend. I hope you manage to get up and running in time for the start of the new season and repairs can be made quickly.”

Amanda Burgess wrote: “Glad your lovely community came to your help and thank goodness no one was hurt. You guys are strong and I know you will get the hotel back to its full glory.”

Fi Mackenzie added: “Thinking of you all and wishing you all the best wishes in the world in the coming few weeks . I am sure you will all bounce back from this even stronger.”

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