Smoke fills the South Holland sky as captured by Mike Greathead.

‘Soul destroying’ fire at family firm

More than £1m worth of potatoes were lost in Saturday’s fire, a major blow to the business that says it was already experiencing a challenging few months due to the recent weather.

Andrew Branton, of Willow Tree Potatoes, described the fire at the Pode Hole warehouse it leases as “soul destroying”.

And he said it follows months of wet weather and hard work from the company’s employees.

“It’s not just the financial side of things,” he told The Voice.

“It’s soul destroying for our staff who have worked hard through what has been a really challenging autumn because of the weather.

“A good percentage of their efforts in those months were in that shed and have been destroyed.”

Willow Tree Potatoes, which has its head office in Deeping St Nicholas, was set up around 30 years ago with Andrew his father Walter and mother Elizabeth, who are still the directors of the company.

Nobody was working on the Pode Hole site at the time.

“There was only potatoes in wooden boxes in the building.

“There was also a fork lift, but apart from a bit of smoke damage that’s alright.

“We don’t know yet exactly how much it will cost the business, but there was a significant worth in there, well over a million pounds worth.

“It really is soul destroying.”

Andrew also said that a private investigation was ongoing as to the cause.

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