The owner of Inverness bar MacCallums was “sick with worry” after a faulty fridge caused a morning fire.
The alarm was raised when a passer-by noticed smoke coming from the premises in Union Street at around 9.25 am on Thursday.
A swift response by the fire services, who smashed the front door window to gain entry, discovered an under-counter fridge was pouring out lots of smoke.
The fridge, which was old but had been tested every year, was quickly removed from the premises to outside.
The owner of MacCallum’s, Eric De Venny, was alerted at around 9.30am to a fire at his property. Mr De Venny resides in Dornoch and only got to Inverness just as fire crews left.
He said: “I got a phone call at 9.30 this morning to say that fire services were in attendance. At first, we thought it was serious, but it turns out one of the under-counter bar fridges had gone on fire and there was a lot of smoke.
“Thankfully, a passer-by had phoned the fire brigade to alert them to a fire and, that received a very rapid response from Scottish Fire and Rescue.”
The inside of the pub had some smoke damage and, after the staff had been given the all-clear, they went to work cleaning up.
‘Horrible feeling to not know what is happening or how bad it is’
To reopen the pub, staff had to wash bar glasses and wipe down countertops.
Staff also had to get rid of the smell of smoke, which had filled the space, but Mr De Venny commented that the smell was quick to clear.
MacCallum’s usually opens at 11am for customers but had to open just after 2pm due to the incident.
Thanks to the quick response from emergency services, who resolved the situation in 90 minutes, there was limited damage to a small area.
Mr De Venny recalled he initially thought the fire was serious. He said: “I was sick with worry. I was concerned about our neighbours and the impact a fire might have on other building tenants.
“I was worried about staff jobs, so it is a horrible feeling to not know what is happening or how bad it is.
“However, once the fire crews were there, we knew relatively quickly that it wasn’t as serious as we first thought.”
“I would like to say a massive thank you to the fire services who were so quick in their response to what could have been more serious if it had been longer.”