The co-owner of a pizza restaurant which was gutted by fire along with a popular Queenstown bar says it’s a nightmare.
Anthony Waldock invested three years of his life into the Fat Badger’s pizza restaurant.
And the local musician is devastated the fire that destroyed his Shotover Street business also claimed The World Bar – putting scores of staff out of work.
“It’s just a nightmare,” he says.
“World Bar was the first place we went when we got to Queenstown and we had a great relationship with the staff.
“The gravity of the situation dawns on you when you realise there’s 40 people out of employment coming into a real busy time.
“We feel terrible for everyone involved.”
Englishman Waldock and business partner Stephen ‘River’ Booth are waiting for information about whether the wooden building can be salvaged.
“It might take a month before we find out a timeframe,” Waldock says.
“But all our focus is on getting Fat Badger’s and World Bar back running as they were before, if not stronger.
“It’s really hard to look at three years of your life, hard work and investment, just gone.
“We’re devastated but it was an accident and all we can do is look to the future. We’ve built it once from nothing so now we’ll have to do it again.”
They will sell T-Shirts on the restaurant’s Facebook page to raise money to support their 18 staff.
Waldock paid tribute to firefighters who fought Friday afternoon’s blaze, which started in his restaurant’s kitchen.
Queenstown fire chief designate Terry O’Connell says volunteer firefighters of all levels of experience tackled the fire.
“Everyone pretty much had a go at it; across the board they did their bit,” O’Connell says.
“There were a lot of exhausted firemen. At one stage we probably had eight of them going in at a time [with breathing apparatus], with back-up crews ready to go in.
“There are huge risks but they’re calculated and that’s what they’re trained for.”