We study the Navier–Stokes system describing the motion of a compressible viscous fluid driven by a nonlinear multiplicative stochastic force. We establish local in time existence (up to a positive stopping time) of a unique solution, which is strong in both PDE and probabilistic sense. Our approach relies on rewriting the problem as a symmetric hyperbolic system augmented by partial diffusion, which is solved via a suitable approximation procedure. We use the stochastic compactness method and the Yamada–Watanabe type argument based on the Gyöngy–Krylov characterization of convergence in probability. This leads to the existence of a strong (in the PDE sense) pathwise solution. Finally, we use various stopping time arguments to establish the local existence of a unique strong solution to the original problem.