How you can help the nine busi­nesses get back on their feet:

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Car­ruthers

MARINO and Yvonne Rober-watched from the car park of the Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre as fire tore through their beloved deli: the sec­ond time in as many years.

Their daugh­ter from the Gold Coast had called to say the com­plex was on fire about 7pm Sun­day night.

“Marino didn’t even have time to put his shoes on. We just ran to the car, our hearts were go­ing crazy, just hop­ing it wasn’t us,” Yvonne said.

Marino and Yvonne had been through this be­fore.

Two years ago, an elec­tri­cal fire burned their deli to the ground. Hav­ing no in­surance, they have only re­cently man­aged to get back on their feet.

When ar­riv­ing at the scene, Yvonne said it was a relief at first to see smoke com­ing out of the Tar­get Coun­try build­ing.

“We were hop­ing it wasn’t go­ing to af­fect any­one else. At the same time we were re­ally wor­ried be­cause we had been through it be­fore.

“You just think ‘no that can’t hap­pen again’.

“At first you are in shock, then you kind of wrap your head around it and get on with it.”

Yvonne said she and Marino had been over­whelmed by the sup­port of the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity fol­low­ing their loss.

“You just think ‘no, that can’t hap­pen again’.”

Yvonne Roberto, Marino’s Deli “At first you are in shock, then you kind of wrap your head around it and get on with it.”

“There are so many nice peo­ple and we have had so many of­fers from all sorts of peo­ple and all sorts of ideas and it’s pretty amaz­ing.

“So that makes you feel good again.”

Marino’s was in­sured but at this stage the im­me­di­ate fu­ture of the deli and its seven staff is un­cer­tain.

Yvonne said there were “no is­sues” with the in­surance claim but she couldn’t even imag­ine how long it would take “to get the build­ing back up”.

“It is go­ing to be a very

long process.”

And a long time for the seven staff of Marino’s to be with­out an in­come.

Yvonne said some of their staff had been with them for more than 10 years and she was con­cerned how they were go­ing to sup­port their fam­i­lies in the com­ing

months.

Ac­cess to the site of the fire had been re­stricted by the Whit­sun­day Police while in­surance in­ves­ti­ga­tors and Queens­land Fire and Res­cue in­ves­ti­ga­tors sur­veyed the rub­ble. On Mon­day af­ter­noon, police elim­i­nated the pos­si­bil­ity the fire had been de­lib­er­ately lit and de­clared the site no longer a crime scene.

BETER TIMES: Marino and Yvonne af­ter the re­open­ing of Marino’s Deli in 2014. Photo Sharon Small­wood

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