The owner of a popular fish and chip van in Inverness told the P&J he is “absolutely devastated” after a fire scorched his van yesterday.
Paul Burnside, 59, was at his home in Smithton when he heard someone banging at his front door at around 3:30 pm.
“At first, I thought it was children playing, but when I opened the door, it was one of my neighbours saying, ‘Your van is on fire’,” he explained.
As the van was parked just outside his house, Mr Burnside quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher.
However, there was nothing he could do, as the van was just “a wall of fire.”
He then called 999 and a fire brigade arrived at the scene shortly after.
“The firefighters were very professional and helpful. If it wasn’t for them, it could have been much worse,” he explained.
Before the Fire Service arrived at the scene, flames reached Mr Burnside’s house, damaging the side of the wall and the front window.
“The fire brigade told us we were actually very lucky that the window didn’t break due to the heat, as the flames could have entered the property,” he said.
Uncertain future for the owner of Inverness fish and chip van destroyed by fire
Mr Burnside told the P&J that he has “no idea” what he will do if the insurance does not cover the incident.
He said: “You pay a lot of money for insurance so you can only hope they will cover it.
“But, if they don’t, I have no idea what I’ll do. I didn’t get any sleep last night thinking about it.”
However, he is sure that he will be back in his van if he hears good news from the insurance company on Monday.
“This is my only income and a family business, as my wife and 16-year-old daughter also help me.
“We’ll be back if we can.”
Inverness locals ‘gutted’ after fire destroys Smithton’s fish and chip van
Smithton residents and loyal customers across Inverness and its surrounding areas were shocked after Mr Burnside posted pictures of the scorched van on Facebook.
“I’m gutted. I always come to the van when I’m up at Inverness. Hope you get back on your feet,” one said
Another person posted: “Oh no! Glad no one was hurt, but what a shame. Hope you get sorted soon.”
Mr Burnside told the P&J he has been “inundated” with support from neighbours and customers.
“I’ve had so many calls from clients and locals asking me how I’m doing; they’ve been phenomenal,” he concluded.