THE fire that engulfed a former Golden Point church yesterday morning has been deemed “purely accidental” by fire crews.
Flames erupted from the apex of the weatherboard building, on Grant Street, around 9.40am.
It came just days after a blaze destroyed another central Ballarat building, housing the Plaster Fun House, and only hours before a Grevillea Road house in Wendouree was destroyed by fire, in heatwave conditions that largely spared Ballarat and region from the fires that raged across Victoria.
Nobody was injured in the Grant Street fire, which started while the two owners were renovating the building.
The fire was extinguished about 20 minutes after fire crews arrived. Both owners were inside at the time, but escaped without injury.
Ballarat City Fire station officer David Brown said the owners were unaware of the smoke gushing from the front of the building while they renovated.
“The owners were made aware of the fire by neighbours who noticed smoke coming from the building,” Mr Brown said. “There is smoke and heat damage through the inside area, with most of the damage in the apex of the church.”
Mr Brown said the owners were using equipment to renovate at the time of the fire.
“The fire was purely accidental, there is no belief that it was suspicious,” he said.
Eight Country Fire Authority trucks attended the incident, including crews from Ballarat City, Ballarat and Sebastopol.
Mr Brown said fire crews did well to control the blaze before it spread to other parts of the property.
“The quick response by the crews today made a difference,” he said.
The owners of the property, who were visibly distressed at the scene, said they did not want to speak to The Courier.
Ambulance Victoria paramedics on the scene said one person had admitted themself to hospital. Ballarat Base Hospital and St John of God Hospital said no patients had presented themselves from the Grant Street fire.
The former church was also home to the Ballarat Health Studio.
Yesterday, Ballarat Health Studio shared the news of the fire with its members on Facebook.
Ian Chambers, who posted on behalf of the group, thanked firefighters for their efforts. “A brilliant job was done by our local firies and fire was put out,” Mr Chambers said.