FIRE DESTROYS TENNIS CENTRE
Fire guts regional tennis centre
THE Tweed’s tennis community is reeling after fire gutted the Joan Nicholl Tennis Centre at Terranora in the early hours of Friday morning. A hub for elite junior talent in the area, members have vowed to re-open as soon as possible, with the courts largely undamaged.
AN EARLY morning fire has destroyed the Terranora tennis centre.
Coaches and committee members gathered at the scene in distress yesterday as they watched emergency services assess the charred remains of the Henry Lawson Drive centre.
Half of the club house has crumbled, with the section closest to the tennis court completely gutted.
Tweed Heads Fire and Rescue Service senior firefighter Greg Mackay said they were called to the scene just before 4am (NSW) to find the centre largely engulfed in flames.
Firefighters from Tweed Heads and Banora Point attended, with the last leaving the scene at 8.15am.
The centre’s media officer Judy Cartwright said they
were “absolutely devastated” by the fire.
Tweed Byron LAC inspector Jackie Lilley said a nearby resident had alerted emergency services after seeing the blaze from their kitchen window about 3.55am.
Insp Lilley said Tweed Heads detectives were carrying out an investigation into the fire – which may have began in the cafeteria –
and was being treated as suspicious.
“They are seeking any information that the community might have to assist us with the investigation,” she said.
“At this point, there is some concern in relation to structural damage. We have to ensure the electricity has been isolated... and we have concerns about the roof collapsing.”
There was minimal damage to the tennis courts themselves.
Club president Rob Nienhuis said while the fire would be a big hurdle, the 180-strong member club would remain resilient.
“We’re going to get it back up and running as quickly as possible,” Mr Nienhuis said.
“We’re not going to let this set us back.”
Secretary Debbie Teitzel
visited the scene with fellow members yesterday morning, and said she was “devastated” by the blaze.
She said they were not yet sure how long the club’s operations would need to be suspended.
A hub for elite junior talent, plans were announced recently to construct three grass courts, giving the centre every major competition surface.
DEVASTATED: Tennis centre media officer Judy Cartwright and president Rob Nienhuis at the scene of the fire which destroyed the centre in the early hours of November 3. INSET: The blaze in its full fury.
GUTTED: Emergency services on the scene at the Joan Nicholl Tennis Centre at Terranora after fire gutted the clubhouse yesterday.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire which destroyed the clubhouse.