FIREYS PRAISED AFTER LA TROBE TCE BLAZE
Nearby buildings spared
A DANCE teacher has praised the efforts of firefighters to save historic buildings surrounding a meeting hall gutted by fire on Saturday.
CFA crews responded at 1.53pm to a fire on La Trobe Tce that had many passers-by fearing a popular dance studio was going up in flames.
But firefighters were able to contain the blaze, which was under control by 2.15pm, to a 3m x 12m meeting room adjacent the main hall, while another hall used by a snooker club was also unscathed.
La Trobe Tce was temporarily closed while the blaze was brought under control, causing havoc for weekend traffic.
It is understood another community group had used the meeting hall earlier in the day.
Fire investigators were on the scene on Saturday, but are not treating it as suspicious.
U-Can Dance Ballroom coordinator Margot Louttit said it was a relief to see firefighters keep the damage to a minimum.
“They needed to check my dance studio to see if any embers had got across to the dance school … but the only key to it was in the room that burnt down,” she said.
“It’s such a mess in there. It’s amazing just to see the devastation. It really brings home to me about all the poor people who lose their houses in fires.”
Ms Louttit said firefighters told her the fact it happened during the day in such a hightraffic spot ensured the three crews were able to douse the fire so quickly.
Connie Ganino was travelling past the scene at the time and was part of a flurry of social media commentary over the interesting past of the dance studio.
“When my Dad came from Italy in the 1960s, all the young Italians used to go there and dance,” she said. “A lot of peo- ple have used it for all different activities. It’s great news that it’s been saved. Too many old building in Geelong are getting destroyed.”
Ms Louttit said many of her clients had flashbacks when they entered her studio, some even recalling a young John Farnham performing Sadie the Cleaning Lady in an orange suit at the venue.
Firefighters battle flames at the La Trobe Tce hall on Saturday.