Fire crews were called to the incident at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, one of the town’s main tourist attractions, about 1.15am on Thursday (4 October).
Incident Controller David Ferguson said as crews approached smoke and a glow could be seen, indicating a fire.
“As I walked down the cobblestone road towards the buildings I could see the front of the printing office, which had been built and fitted out to replicate an 1800s printing office, was fully involved in the fire and it was spreading to the back of the building,” IC Ferguson said.
Next to that building, about a foot away, was a replica fire station built by Warrnambool members, with support of local businesses. Set up to replicate an 1800s fire station, it housed brigade memorabilia including an original 1800s hose cart, trophies from championships in the late 1800s, a newer hose reel that had been rebuilt, photos, certificates from the 1800s and 1900s for competitions and attending demonstrations and a collection of helmets.
“Through the quick work of the first crews on scene they were able to protect the building, however there is significant damage to the structure. Fire got into roof and burnt trusses and damaged a wall,” IC Ferguson said.
“But thankfully, everything in there except a couple of photos was saved. Countless hours were put into building that and it will need to be rebuilt, but to save contents – that’s priceless to the brigade.”
The fire was under control by 2.20am, with about 20 firefighters on scene from Warrnambool.
The cause is being investigated, with police and fire investigators on scene today.
**Photos by Julie Owens, Warrnambool Volunteer**