The demolition of the fire-damaged Moorfield Hotel is set to be completed this week – but it could be months before new plans for the site emerge.
EMN Plant Ltd began clearance work at the site in Brae last week after being awarded the contract by owners BDL Hotels.
The Sella Ness-based company has been using specialist equipment to tear and grab its way through the charred remains, clearing the site and leaving it safe.
The hotel was left as a burnt out shell after a major fire ripped through the building in the early hours of Monday, 27th July.
Police and fire services took control of the site in the immediate aftermath to begin a joint investigation into the cause of the blaze, which is thought to have started in the second floor linen room.
The SIC issued a dangerous building notice soon after, which required the owners to make the site safe.
Ellis Nicolson, general manager at EMN Plant, said his team had been kept busy sorting through the debris and salvaging what metal they could to recycle in Lerwick.
The company, which provides services including plant hire, waste management and haulage among others, got into site clearance a couple of years ago after benefitting from the Scottish government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund.
Mr Nicolson said the project had been a been a good opportunity to make use of the team’s recently acquired skills.
He said the company’s LH30 Multi User – a mechanical grabber – had “really come in to its own” during the project – making light work of the debris.
“It has three different attachments that we can change between in a matter of minutes,” he said.
“That’s made the job an awful lot easier.”
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Nicolson said the team was in the “home straight” and expected to have completed demolition by the end of the week.
He said the biggest task had been sorting through the materials to separate what could be salvaged.
“We’ve tried to recycle as much as possible but there’s not much we can do with the rubble, which will go to landfill,” he added.
The site will now be returned to BDL, which has been holding discussions with its insurers.
BDL director Stuart McCaffer said no decision had yet been taken on the future of the site.
“It is still far too early stages,” he said.
“We are still working through the joint investigation and the insurance
“It will be several months until we have an outcome and also we can assess what the future plan is for the site.”
The hotel opened in 2013 and provided accommodation mainly for Shetland Gas Plant workers.
BDL announced it was facing closure earlier this year, after the gas plant contract ended.
It was due to have closed last month with the loss of 45 jobs.
All those in the hotel at the time of the fire were safely evacuated.
An appeal raised thousands of pounds for six members of staff who lost their belongings in the blaze.