The owner of a Highland sawmill has been left “devastated” after his workshop was engulfed by flames and destroyed overnight.
Emergency services were called to a blaze at the Fettes Sawmill at Killearnan on the A832 Tore to Maybank at around 11.12pm on Wednesday, August 4.
Fire crews from Dingwall, Nairn, Inverness and Fortrose raced to the scene to tackle the “fierce” flames, which remained “really high” for several hours into the night.
In a post on Facebook, the family-run company has shared pictures of the ruins left in the aftermath of last night’s disaster, saying they are “absolutely devastated”.
They said: “We are absolutely devastated by the fire that has destroyed our workshop.
“I want to thank everyone for all the very kind messages and offers of help.
“The fire brigade services from Dingwall, Nairn, Inverness and Fortrose have worked extremely hard through the night to save our office. We can’t thank them enough.
“We have managed to get a generator up and running, to give us power, so hopefully will be able to take phone calls shortly.
“We are currently closed to customers as the fire brigade are still here. Please be patient as we work our way through this disaster.”
‘The flames were so fierce, I was worried the whole sawmill will go up’
A local resident spoke of how he feared “the whole lot was going up” in flames as the disaster unfolded before his eyes.
“We went to bed as usual at around 10pm to 10:30pm,” he said. “Around an hour later my wife saw flashing lights and then the flames across the road. We deducted it was Fettes Sawmill.
“We saw three fire engines. They kept going back and forth a lot for water. They were taking water from our system as our water had stopped so we knew it was serious.”
“We feared the whole lot was going up. The flames were really spectacular.
“I was worried that the whole sawmill could have gone up as the flames were so fierce. They were really high for a couple of hours.”
The A832 was closed at Tore to the junction at the Black Isle Show Ground for about five hours with police and fire crews remaining at the scene throughout the night.
Pictures and videos on social media from eye-witnesses show large plumes of smoke rising in to the sky in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The resident added: “The flames died down around 1.30am to 2am so it was just the smoke.
“They (fire service) stayed in attendance and they have been going back and forth this morning.
“I went over to have a look this morning but I couldn’t see anything. I did speak to one of the Fettes lads and he told me it was the mill where they make the sheds and buildings that was on fire.”
As he watched the flames engulf the building, the witness said his concern lay with those involved.
“We didn’t imagine for a minute that it would come anywhere near us. I did think of the old church which has the nursery,” he said.
“We were concerned someone or something had been hurt but they are all okay.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We received a report of a fire at Fettes Sawmill, Kilcoy Redcastle in Muir of Ord, at around 11.15pm on Wednesday, August 4.
“Emergency services attended and there were no reports of any injuries.
“The A832 was closed at Tore to the junction at the Black Isle Show Ground and reopened around 6am on Thursday, August 5.
“Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.”