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Heartbreak as fire destroys workshop business

A motorcycle repairer/restorer in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders has spoken of his heartbreak after an inferno wiped out his business and 14 customer and personal bikes.

The blaze, which started in an adjoining industrial unit, destroyed six businesses and took six fire alliances nine and half hours to extinguish.

“It’s horrific. The business is totally obliterated,” said Duncan Lawrie, who had been running DARL Services – MoTs, repairs, servicing, restoration and storage – for the past eight years and who says the business where the fire is alleged to have started does not have insurance.

Lawrie is warning fellow motorcycle businesses to check their insurance and avoid taking premises in a row of units.

“My advice is that if you are getting a unit to work on your bikes, make sure it’s on its own so there’s no chance of any fire going right through them because the fire service reckons it went through six units in about 35 minutes. It was that quick. Then there’s no hassle when it comes down to insurance and that.”


Customer motorcycles destroyed in the blaze included a ZX-10R, a BMW R1200GS, a newly renovated Yamaha RD250 and a BMW R65 LS. Personal bikes included two Laverdas – a Mirage and a 750SF; a Douglas 600 Aero – one of only three ever made; a Honda XLV 750R, number 209 of just 500; and a 1932 Moto Guzzi  500 Sport.

“I enjoyed running the business. It has been very good, but when this has happened and it’s your own personal bikes as well, it’s sad, sad for everybody concerned.

“My first priority at the moment is to get the insurance money and pay all the customers’ bikes off. After that I will just take it from there.”

With the loss adjuster suggesting an initial insurance pay-out of just £70,000, Lawrie could face some difficult negotiations. “I haven’t got a final accounting because there was a lot of stuff but I am up to £485,000, so the insurance company is away in a different ball park.

“People are saying that may be the way forward is to do one of those crowd funding things.”

However, even if Lawrie does receive proper compensation, he says it is unlikely he will continue in business. “No, I would retire, I think. I am very close to retirement age so this has just sickened me, totally.

“The only positive is that there was nobody injured.”

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