A SMALL fire at the Grand Hotel resulted in the evacuation of patrons and structural damage before being brought under control by the CFA.
Flames were localised to a section of the balcony bar, which was hosting a function at the time. According to manager Peter Appleby the origin of the fire hasn’t yet been determined.
Although the lives of patrons were not threatened, a level of panic was reached when flames and smoke became visible.
After the duty manager was informed of the smoke, the Warrandyte CFA swiftly arrived on the scene and were backed up by units from South and North Warrandyte.
Evacuation of the function was a well coordinated by the authorities in front of a curious crowd of locals who gathered to witness proceedings.
Staff member on the scene Nick Schlueter described the day as a “rapid change of events”.
“Despite a fire breaking loose and the whole venue evacuated, I was confident we would still continue to serve customers, which we did,” Schlueter said.
Damage to the premise was limited by an excellent effort by the CFA.
“Minor repairs are required to the balcony section and the carpet needs to be replaced in the public bar due to water damage,” Appleby said.
Valiant efforts by the chefs and staff had the pub looking presentable enough to open the bistro, which was undamaged, for dinner at 7pm on the night of the disaster.
The public bar re-opened on Monday and all resumed as normal Wednesday afternoon.
Staff, patrons and owners are all relieved that the danger was so swiftly controlled and are well aware things could have been much worse, especially Appleby.
“We are extremely grateful that all of our wonderful staff and customers are safe, and that this beautiful 120-year-old building, is still standing to continue to serve the community proudly.”