GOULBURN was shaken during the early hours of Friday morning when a shed fire caused an explosion heard by residents on the other side of town.
The shed, belonging to teacher Bill Dorman, was used as an art metal workshop. It contained an oxyacetylene set, including both oxygen and acetylene cylinders, an argon cylinder and a 9kg LPG bottle.
During the blaze the oxygen tank ruptured, creating an explosion which blew the roof off the shed, causing a fire ball to leap into the sky. It produced a sound wave so powerful it broke the windows of the flats next door and was heard by residents in Cowper St.
At 12.12am, the Goulburn Fire Station received a call alerting them to a fire at 50 Chatsbury St and within minutes they were on the scene.
Ten fire fighters battled the fire for several hours, putting out the primary fire within about 30 minutes and then working to extinguish the rest of the blaze and secure the area.
After the flames were put out, fire fighters had to secure the remaining tanks, cooling them down and monitoring their temperature to make sure there was not a second explosion.
The emergency was over by 5.40am and fire fighters returned to the station. The police also launched an investigation but concluded there were “no suspicious circumstances involved”.
The Dormans were asleep when the fire broke out and were alerted to it by one of their neighbours, who saw smoke and flames coming from the shed. Mr Dorman said he was relieved nobody was hurt and that the fire did not affect his family home.
However, he was devastated to have lost his workshop, which he said was his sanctuary.
“It wasn’t a shed it was a creative space,” he said.
“It didn’t have any cars or mowers in it. It had my tools and my collections. It’s a lifetime of my (artistic) pallet. It’s my paint tin.” Mr Dorman and his son Jasper lost a lot of their creations including jewellery and sculptures as well as everything they were currently working on.
They also lost all of their tools, which had been accumulated over 40 years. The damage bill is estimated to be in excess of $50,000 but for the two artists the sentimental value is far more significant. However, while they have found the experience disheartening both say they won’t give up and will continue to pursue their passion.
“It hasn’t dampened my spirit,” Mr Dorman said.
“It’s a set-back, you don’t want this type of thing to happen, it’s upsetting, but I’m not going to give up. It might cause a change in direction but we’ll see how it goes.”
The family is insured and say for now they are going to focus on the clean up and rebuilding. The Dormans said they would like to thank all of the emergency services staff who assisted them on Friday morning, as well as their neighbours and friends who were so supportive and understanding.