The boss of a Doncaster blind manufacturer whose business was wrecked when fire tore through the factory in a massive blaze has pledged to battle back.
Faulty electrical wiring has been blamed for the inferno which gutted Kirk Sandall-based Shades of Doncaster at the weekend.
Six fire engines spent more than nine hours at the factory in Sandall Stones Road and nearby residents were told to keep windows and doors closed and stay inside at the height of the blaze.
Now joint director Peter Lowe has pledged to get the crippled business back up on its feet as soon as possible.
He said: “The factory has pretty much been destroyed. We’re absolutely devastated but we are determined to get back up and running again as quickly as we can.”
The fire broke out shortly after employees had finished work shortly after lunch on Saturday at the one-storey warehouse which manufactures and sells window blinds.
Added Mr Lowe: “The call was received pretty quickly when staff at a nearby premises spotted smoke coming through the roof but it was a real flashover and it just tore through the factory destroying everything in its path.”
Mr Lowe, who runs the firm jointly with fellow director Ray Winder, was en route to Manchester when he received a call from his son informing him of the fire.
“In my mind, I was hoping it wouldn’t be too bad but I got there and saw it and the place was a right mess. A police woman at the scene came up to me and said ‘you look like you need a hug’ and she came up and gave me a hug. It was devastating to see all our work go up like that.”
He had to break the news to Mr Winder who was attending the Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday match by getting an announcement put out over the public address system, urging him to contact a steward urgently.
The firm, which was set up in 1984, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in business on March 5 and employs eleven people - but Mr Lowe says staff have had to be temporarily laid off while the clean-up operation gets underway.
He added: “We are operating with a skeleton staff at the moment. We think its going to be four to six months before the factory is up and running again but we are hoping to get the showroom open in the next few days and we’re hoping to start fitting blinds for customers again next week.
“Obviously we’ve had to let some people down this week but our competitors have been very kind, providing us with stock while we get back on our feet again.”
He estimated that replacing machinery would run to more than £120,000 while £16,000 of stock had also been lost to the flames, along with most of the building which is currently being structurally assessed.
“We’ve been in business a long time and never had anything like this happen before. But we want to bounce back and offer the same service we’ve always given to our customers.
“The feedback and support we’ve had this week has been fantastic and we’d like to thank people for all the help they’ve given us.”