THE actions of two quick-thinking residents have prevented the headquarters of one of Kerang’s volunteer organisations from being engulfed in flames.
Kerang Fire Brigade members worked for 15 minutes to contain a fire at the Kerang Men’s Shed headquarters on Thursday night.
Personnel were alerted to the Burgoyne Street blaze by a neighbouring couple who were walking home and smelt plastic burning
“Ten minutes (later) and it (the shed) would have been gone,” Kerang Men’s Shed co-ordinator Harry Sambrooks said.
“The couple could smell plastic burning and looked at the shed and saw the double roller doors glowing orange.”
Brigade members donned breathing apparatuses to battle the fire at the Kerang Technichal High School site, containing the blaze to the shed’s workshop.
“The fire had been going for a fair while before we arrived,” Kerang Fire Brigade captain, Ramon Steel said.
“The smoke was one metre above the ground when we got there, and we had to attack the blaze aggressively in a short period of time because the oxygen (which entered the building when the shed was opened to fight the blaze) could have created an explosion.
“I am pretty proud of the boys for their efforts.”
Fire investigators, led by Cohuna Fire Brigade captain Bruce Embleton, spent Friday morning working to determine the cause of the fire.
The fire has been listed as not suspicious, but what caused the blaze to start is still inconclusive.
The blaze has destroyed benches and equipment, as well as buckling the facility’s roller doors and a main support beam that hangs above the front of the workshop.
“Electricity has been cut right through the property and all of the circuit boards have melted,” Mr Sambrooks said.
“The steel parts of tools (used by members) have survived, but the plastic handles have melted.
Of greater concern to the shed’s members is the damage to numerous projects that were left in the damaged workshop.
These included restoration works on antique items and the construction of other objects.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Mr Sambrooks said.
Men’s Shed members held a Christmas break-up event hours before the blaze, with the centre scheduled to re-open on January 8.
However, it is uncertain when members will be able to access their headquarters.
Kerang District Health, who oversaw the implementation of the program and funds the initiative, has vowed to support the replacement of much-needed equipment.
“We will be looking at the replacement of affected tools though insurance,” hospital chief executive officer, Robert Jarman said.
“Fortunately we have three weeks to get things organised before the Men’s Shed is scheduled to resume.”
ASSESS. Bruce and Ben Embleton spent Friday morning investigating the cause of a fire that damaged the Kerang Men’s Shed the night before.
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