INVESTIGATIONS are underway to determine the cause of a fire at the Mawarra Day Centre in Warragul this morning.
Above: firefighters cut open the roof of the centre to gain access to hot spots. Photos by William PJ Kulich.
The fire is now out, but a plume of smoke was visible from across Warragul during the morning.
Incident controller and Warragul CFA captain Paul Tandberg told The Warragul Citizen crews were called to the fire shortly before 8am and its cause remains unknown.
“We’ve got CFA and police fire investigators on scene at the moment to try to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Mr Tandberg said.
“The first crews on scene discovered that there was smoke issuing from the roof cavity as well as flames coming out through one of the doors.”
Mr Tandberg said the extent of the damage was “presently undetermined.”
“We’re still going though ascertaining how far the fire has actually spread through the roof cavity,” he said.
“There is some significant damage to the roof section of the building, as well as the ceiling part.
“At this stage it’s been contained to a couple of areas within the day centre part, not the administration building.”
A Mawarra staff member at the scene this morning said the day centre was “like a home away from home” for the intellectually disabled people who visit it regularly.
Mr Tandberg said CFA and SES crews were now salvaging what they could and cleaning up the building.
“We’re just mopping up, blacking out any little hot spots that are burning in the roof trusses,” he said.
“CFA and SES crews are now doing what we call salvage and overhauling of the building, removing furniture and mopping up water.”
CFA crews came from across Gippsland to help fight the fire.
“We’ve had trucks from Warragul, Drouin and Traralgon, with the specialist ladder platform and breathing apparatus vehicle from Traralgon as well as Longwarry for some refreshments for the firefighters and SES personnel,” Mr Tandberg said.
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