A LEONGATHA restaurant was gutted by fire last week, caused by an electrical fault, and resulting in $350,000 worth of damage.
Leongatha and Ruby Fire Brigades attended the blaze at the Leongatha Indian Restaurant on Roughead Street at 11.30pm on Thursday, August 30, after a passer-by noticed smoke coming from the rear of the building.
Fire crews from Leongatha South, Korumburra, Inverloch and Traralgon were called in for support, bringing the fire under control in about an hour.
They remained at the scene until 2.30am to ensure the fire was fully extinguished, using a thermal imaging camera to identify ‘hot spots’ in the thatched straw ceiling.
No one was injured in the fire, and crews managed to contain the blaze to the dining area of the restaurant, leaving the kitchen and bathroom areas, and neighbouring buildings, undamaged.
But Leongatha CFA captain Dale Carruthers said the damage to the restaurant and its contents was extensive.
He estimated $300,000 worth of structural damage and a further $50,000 damage to the building’s contents and said the building would need to be demolished.
Police from Leongatha and Wonthaggi’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) attended the scene on Thursday and Friday, and deemed the fire non-suspicious.
Detective Senior Constable Peter Johnston of the CIU said there would be no further police investigation as police were satisfied the fire had been caused by a fault with a light fitting or a bar fridge at the rear of the dining area.
Darren Hardacre of Ruby Fire Brigade praised the efforts of all the fire crews, saying they’d worked together very effectively.
CFA members said the fire was the most destructive they’d seen in South Gippsland in four years.