THE centre of Lerwick was enveloped in smoke for a short period on Saturday lunchtime after one of the town’s chip shops went up in flames.
Frying oil at Ian’s Fish & Chips, at Harrison Square on the Esplanade, caught fire shortly before 1pm and the shop was immediately evacuated, with police having to close the adjacent main road for around an hour until the situation had been brought under control by two fire crews.
No-one was hurt during the incident, which caused fire and smoke damage to the kitchen and shop area and led to smoke billowing up the lanes leading up from Commercial Street.
Ten firefighters used a foam extinguisher and two hose-reel jets to get the flames and smoke under control and the crews were stood down shortly after 2.30pm.
Owner Morag MacLeod, who has run the shop for the past three years, said she had no idea how the fire had happened but had been “shocked and panicked” by the incident, which could hardly have come at a worse time ahead of one of their busiest periods of the year.
“I was working myself, I was serving some customers and I heard a bang, the next thing I knew the oil had gone up in flames,” she said. “I got everybody out of the shop as fast as I could and phoned 999.”
She said that although the structure of the building was not damaged, the frying range had been completely destroyed and the shop was now likely to be closed for “quite some considerable time”.
It is the third time in four years that firefighters have been called to the shop, with the most recent call out in December 2006 after oil in one of the fryers overheated. In April 2004 firefighters were called out after smoke was seen in the building late at night.