AFTER waiting more than 30 years to marry, Swansea couple Jody Yarnold and Col Farrow have refused to let the fire that destroyed the upstairs function room at Squid’s Ink restaurant and motel sear their perfect day.
The couple had not yet heard on Monday afternoon from the Belmont business about what would happen to their $1000 deposit and the plans for their December 23 wedding ceremony, a reception in the restaurant and 38 guest bookings for the motel. “I never thought this would happen – I’m still in disbelief and shock,” Ms Yarnold said. “I’m not sure if they have contingency plans in place. We need to look at our options but we still want to go ahead on that day if we can – we’ve waited a long time for this.”
Squid’s Ink interim manager Scott Johnston said smoke and water damage to the office and foyer – which sit directly underneath the “potentially structurally unsound” function room – had destroyed the phone line, modem, computer, closed circuit television system and hard drives, which made it difficult to contact customers about bookings. He asked anyone with queries to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Johnston said the owner, VB Hospitality Belmont, took over in March and the eight staff were “devastated to be back to square one”.
“If I thought there was a possibility that section could have caught fire I would have taken some action,” he said. “If there was a big pile of paper and oily rags and dodgy appliances and someone left a heater on that would be one thing, but none of us did that. “Staff are scared about what this could mean … We’re all panicking because it’s all so uncertain and we’re trying to keep our heads together.”
Mr Johnston said all 28 motel rooms received smoke damage, but the restaurant escaped largely unscathed.
“We want to carry on as the Squid’s Ink no matter what, but we have a massive clean up ahead of us.”
Ms Yarnold said she was thinking positively about the couple’s upturned plans. “I look at it this way – why worry about something you’ve got no control over?” she said. “It’s just another little bump in the road and we’ll get over it, we’ll work something out.”
Neighbour Jan Pearce said she was woken by bangs around 1am. “When we opened the front door there was thick smoke, it was terrible,” she said. Former employee James Reid visited the site “out of curiosity”. “It’s been a bit of an icon in this area and is so well known.”