THE owner of Plaster Fun House was devastated and distraught when he arrived on the scene to see his business up in flames.
“I haven’t shed a lot of tears yet, but I am sure I will shortly. It has been 17 years of my life and it has gone up in smoke,” Brad Billings said.
“The place is totally gutted.”
Mr Billings was contacted by a nearby shop owner about smoke in the area before he arrived at the store Thursday night.
Describing his emotions to The Courier, he said he still wasn’t sure what the future held for the much-loved Plaster Fun House.
“Just utter devastation. I tried to open the roller door for them (firefighters) to get through, but there was just too much heat being generated.
“The fire had been going for a good 45 minutes before that and it had a good, strong hold,” he said.
“There was no way they could open the door easily, so I believe they attacked it from the
“It started within 45 minutes of the last staff member leaving, so we are really not sure,” Mr Billings said.
He said a conservative estimate of $250,000 in contents was lost in the blaze.
The building itself, which Mr Billings does not own, is estimated to be worth almost $800,000.
Fire investigators were on the scene yesterday morning.
Mr Billings was unsure on the future of the business, with staff members expected to be without work for some time.
“They have obviously lost their jobs at this point in time ... I don’t know where we stand at the minute. We just have to have a look at it as time goes on,” he said.
“The building inspector is here now and it just depends on what they say.
“The building may have to be demolished. The facade might have to be retained because of council heritage.”
He estimated more than a dozen children’s parties were booked in coming weeks and other arrangements would need to be made.
Residents who have a party booked will need to contact the Plaster Fun House for further information.