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Fire destroys building

At 2.21am on Saturday morning (when this pic was taken) the fire in this building at the corner of Spring and Wharf streets was at its peak; sixty seconds later it collapsed and was gone. Pic: Steve Keedle
  Geoff Helisma A disused, heritage-listed building on the corner of Spring and Wharf streets in South Grafton was burnt to the ground during the early hours of last Saturday morning November 7. The fire followed another fire at the site seven days previous. Fire and Rescue NSW’s brigade captain, Garry Reardon, said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Fire fighters were called to the first fire at 11.10pm on Friday November 30. “The rear of the building was alight and it took brigades half an hour to get the fire under control,” Captain Reardon said. The alarm for Saturday’s fire was called at 1.47am. Crews from South Grafton (which had just returned from a car fire), Grafton, Maclean and Woolgoolga attended the fire. The Coffs Harbour brigade was on standby at the South Grafton station “in case there was another incident in town”, Captain Reardon said. The adjacent building in Spring Street was saved. “Saving that building was our priority,” Captain Reardon said. “The building [on the corner] was lost, so brigades focussed on exposure protection. “Looking at it now it was a good save considering how intense the fire was. “I’ve been in the brigade for 26 years – without doubt this was the most intense fire I have attended. “It was an old timber building that had a lot of fuel inside; disused furniture etcetera.” Captain Reardon said Essential Energy was also on the scene “rapidly and isolated the power to the area for the purpose greater fire fighter safety.”