Chef Nick Nairn has paid tribute to the “humbling” local response after a fire ripped through his Bridge of Allan restaurant.
Fire crews were called to the blaze at Nick’s on Henderson Street shortly after 8.15pm on Saturday and found a well-developed fire from the kitchen.
The efforts of cool headed staff and a quick thinking off-duty police officer ensured that diners were evacuated out of the property within 90 seconds, helping to prevent any major casualties.
Pictures of the blaze – which Mr Nairn revealed kicked off in the kitchen after a deep-fat fryer went on fire – filled social media over the weekend, with fire crews remaining at the incident well into the early hours.
Speaking to the Observer this week, Mr Nairn admitted the fire was a “terrifying” moment and praised the cool heads present on the night.
He said: “A fryer went on fire in the kitchen in the middle of service, so we unplugged it but it burst into flames.
“We covered it with a fire blanket but it kept going and we used the restaurant’s C02 canisters but when that stopped, the fryer just exploded.
“There was an off-duty police officer having her dinner and they worked with our managers to empty the restaurant; thankfully they had the presence of mind to check the storeroom and the toilets.
“My head chef Jordan killed the gas and the power and thankfully he did, because God knows what would have happened if he didn’t; he was very cool headed and very impressive.
“We’re now just working out with the team where to go from here but the most important thing is that everyone is safe from this.”
After the incident the restaurant posted on its social media page, writing: “After an eventful evening, we want to let you all know every staff member and customer are safe and well and we want to thank the extraordinary amount of support and love we’ve felt from so many people – it’s so appreciated!
“We’ll be back, we promise.”
Mr Nairn says the restaurant has been inundated by well-wishes from locals in Bridge of Allan, including a online fundraiser organised by the Meadowpark restaurant in the town for the staff which has raised more than £2,000.
Mr Nairn added: “We’ve just had unbelievable support; there have been a lot of cards and it’s just been humbling.
“The community spirit is kind of why we moved here and I’ve never felt more valued and loved than in this community – you see who your friends are and we have a lot of them here, it’s just been truly uplifting.
“The first few days were a bit of a blur but today has been the reality, the kitchen has been destroyed and the restaurant internally will need to be completely gutted.”