Old Bar fire investigated

Rural fire fighters on the scene at Flow Espresso Bar, shortly after a fire was extinguished by the driver of a courtesy bus. Julie Slavin photo.
Rural fire fighters on the scene at Flow Espresso Bar, shortly after a fire was extinguished by the driver of a courtesy bus. Julie Slavin photo.

OLD Bar's Flow Espresso Bar was the target of unknown arsonists last Thursday night.

Just after 10pm the perpetrator/s are alleged to have doused one side of the building with a flammable liquid and set it alight.

The length of the building along Clerke Street was on fire when a woman driving the courtesy bus of a local licensed premises happened to be driving past.

She stopped the vehicle and the occupants all got out, with some running upstairs to alert the people living there while the others helped to extinguish the flames.

Flow owners, Stu Wilson and Steve Ward both live upstairs, along with Steve's partner Julie and two-year-old daughter Riley.

All were home at the time and Stu said the scary part is that the lights were on in the building and whoever is responsible for the attack would have known people were inside.

"That's worrying for us, knowing that people are in the building and then setting it alight, they obviously didn't care," he said.

Stu was about to go to bed when he said he heard the sound of something dragging but thought it may have been Steve or Julie moving furniture.

"In hindsight that was probably the petrol can being dragged along the side of the building," he admitted.

"Not long after that I could smell petrol and then I went outside and there was the Old Bar Bowling Club courtesy bus pulled up."

Stu grabbed a fire extinguisher from inside andt the blaze was all but extinguished within a short amount of time.

This is the second fire incident at the cafe in the last 12 months with a clothes dryer catching light and destroying an old garage on the site in 2013.

On both occasions people were living upstairs in the historic old building.

Stu, Steve and family were left shaken and wanting to know who would do such a thing and why.

"It's scary but especially when there's a child involved," said Stu.

"I'd like to think that it was an opportunistic attack on an old landmark, not a personal attack on us."

The Old Bar fire crew were on the scene within 10 minutes, however local police officers didn't attend the scene until the next day.

Detective Inspector Peter McKenna said it was not unusual for police officers to attend the scene of a fire after it was well and truly extinguished.

"The fire needs to be completely out and the area cooled before we can begin our investigations," Det Insp McKenna said.

Det Insp McKenna added that the police are treating the fire as suspicious and investigations are continuing.

Thankfully no one was hurt and minimal damage was done to the building, with trade resuming the next day as normal.


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