Shops and staff gutted by massive Coast blaze
DEVASTATED workers at the Maroochydore business complex that was destroyed by a huge fire yesterday watched on as firefighters salvaged what they could.
The Trinder Ave complex was well alight just after 2am, with firefighters battling the blaze until early afternoon.
Acting Maroochydore Area Commander Geoff Hunter said smoke and flames were issuing from the building when crews arrived.
“We’ve had 37 firefighters on the scene and police have evacuated three houses at the rear of the building in case of smoke travel and structural collapse,” he said. “With the heat inside, there was always that possibility.”
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said the flames were under control by about 4.05am, but crews stayed for hours to dampen down hot spots.
Witnesses said the owner of Sunland TV Service, which was most affected, was extremely upset. He reportedly tried to access his store but was escorted away by firefighters.
“He came here and he looked quite devastated,” Mr Hunter said.
The TV repair store and a hydraulics centre were gutted, and the adjoining St Vincent de Paul centre was badly damaged.
A Vinnies staffer was too emotional to speak publicly, but her husband said the loss was devastating, especially at Christmas time.
He was watching the news about 6.30am and recognised his wife’s workplace.
The couple rushed to Trinder Ave to find a chaotic scene, with more than 30 firefighters, police officers, paramedics and the media.
“(Firefighters) have done a great job putting the fires out,” he said.
Investigators will return next week, once the building is safe, to determine the cause of the blaze.