Goulburn building goes up in smoke

Firefighters have extinguished a fire in a building at the rear of the old St John’s orphanage in Goulburn.

The blaze broke out at about 5.30pm Monday and was “well involved” when crews arrived shortly after.

It’s the second major outbreak at the abandoned building within a year.

NSW Fire and Rescue’s Goulburn station officer Darrell Law said the fire was contained to the disused structure and had not spread to the main building, formerly the orphanage.

But they had their work cut out. The roof was still well alight at 7pm. Personnel fought the fire from outside as the structure was declared too unsafe to enter. It was extinguished at 7.30pm.

Station officer Law said there wasn’t too much visible fuel inside, mainly timber and iron. Firefighters wore breathing apparatus due to the asbestos risk.

He expected the building would have to be demolished. Crews had managed to save it when a major fire broke out in the roof last November. 

Two Goulburn crews, comprising 12 personnel, were assisted by a unit from Crookwell and the Rural Fire Service. Police were also scene, while an ambulance was on standby.

Fire units had to tap into two water hydrants on Mundy St but were assisted by a Mulwaree Support tanker plugging into another hydrant on Combermere St.

NSW Fire and Rescue duty commander for the Southern Highlands Bruce Fitzpatrick said the service would conduct a preliminary investigation tonight.

A crew would likely be left to mop up, he said.

It will be up to police whether to undertake a comprehensive investigation.

Mr Law confirmed that power was not connected to the building.

Building owner John Ferrara arrived on the scene about 6.15pm.

He declined to comment, only to say the building was not insured. 


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