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HWP’s new fire disaster: Computer backup data lost

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HWP is facing the costly and time-consuming task of recreating its database from scratch in the latest setback for the company ravaged by fire.

Bosses have discovered they are unable to retrieve any information from their backup database, even though it was not kept on site.

Immediately after the fire they paid thousands of dollars for the database to be transported from Bermuda to the UK in the hope that software providers could “come up with quick solutions”.

The company’s computer network was completely destroyed in the blaze, but it was hoped that the backup database would help to restore crucial information.

But bosses have had to deal with the devastating news that the database was faulty and “absolutely everything” has been lost. This includes financial accounts, as well as customer and staff information.

HWP president and CEO Jonathan Brewin said: “We are having to recreate the database as we have found out that the copy we had was faulty.

“We had kept it off site but there was a problem with it. We are now having to focus our energy on this database. It’s going to be a huge job”.

The fire on Monday, August 8 started in the body and paint store and ripped through the rest of the building on the south side of St John’s Road in Pembroke.

The building’s walls and roof collapsed in the fire and the remaining frontage was demolished due to safety concerns.

The Bermuda Fire Service is continuing with its investigations and HWP bosses are still unable to put a cost on the “catastrophic” damage, but it is expected to total millions of dollars. The blaze destroyed 12 customer cars, plus up to 10 showroom vehicles.

Just over a week later, all 115 staff have now returned to work in a bid to continue to serve their customers. The company remained closed for just one day.

The majority of staff are based in the company’s buildings on the north side of St John’s Road, with some administration staff using temporary offices at BTC.

Mr Brewin said many staff members were currently working together to carry out a company-wide stock take on parts so that an exact inventory could be drawn up.

The long-term plans for HWP remain unknown as stakeholders continue to consider its options.

But as a temporary measure HWP has teamed up with car dealership Rayclan to provide motorists with an alternative solution for paint and body shop repairs. This section of the company has been unable to reopen because its building and equipment was destroyed.

Mr Brewin has praised his staff for “working long and hard” to get the business back up and running so quickly.

HWP’s car and cycle sales department is also increasing its opening hours. From today, for a trial period of two months, these divisions will be open until 7pm in the week and 5pm on Saturdays.

Mr Brewin said: “In an already difficult economy and with an event such as the fire, we have to pull out all the stops to serve our customers, send out the message that we are open for business and moreover keep our teams busy.

“We hope that by extending our opening hours, we are making working with us more convenient for customers.”

Mr Brewin also said he was pleased the company was teaming up with Rayclan, adding that the two companies were “pulling together at this difficult time”.

He said: “We are really focused on our customers right now and this was the most logical solution.”

Daniel Greenslade, owner/operator of Rayclan Limited, said they were already helping HWP complete existing jobs, and would start to work closely on both mechanical work and bodywork “so that the customer gets a swift and seamless service”.

The Bermuda Fire Service did not respond to our requests for comment yesterday.

HWP’s customer hotline remains open at 295-5000. Alternatively customers can e-mail the company through its website at www.hwp.bm.

HWP Group Body and Paint had a fire yesterday afternoon. (Photo by Mark Tatem) August 8,2011
Photo by Mark Tatem A fireman adjusts his helmet as the HWP Group's Body and Paint on St Johns Road is engulfed in flames yesterday afternoon. August 8,2011

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Published August 17, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 17, 2011 at 10:00 am)

HWP’s new fire disaster: Computer backup data lost

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