A Ballarat business owner has been left devastated after a powerful blaze has destroyed the back of his Sturt Street laundromat.
Alan Lucas has owned Ballarat Laundry for only 16 months before being hit by fire on Monday evening.
“It’s a massive kick in the guts,” he said.
The fire erupted about 11.30pm on Monday, with five CFA units called in to tackle the blaze.
Smoke could be seen billowing outside, as police blocked off both Sturt Street and Raglan Street to traffic.
Mr Lucas told The Courier the blaze was started after spontaneous combustion occurred amoungst a pile of towels in the back, commercial part of the business.
The coin-laundry section at the front of the business was fortunately untouched.
“I was first alerted through my security system because the fire had melted part of the back door. Thank god for a neighbour who called 000 and the firefighters for responding so quickly, they kept the blaze to the size it was.
“I’ve been told that it’s something that can happen in this industry, but it’s just one of those things that you never think would happen to you.”
Upon purchasing the laundromat, Mr Lucas bought new commercial equipment to help best serve large-scale clients. All of this had been damaged beyond repair.
After a night of little sleep, he said the hardest part of the incident has been breaking the news to his staff.
“We want to keep them employed for as long as we can, we want to do the best by them.”
However help from other businesses and a motivation to get back on track is keeping Mr Lucas going.
“We’re already making moves to get back up-and-running,” Mr Lucas said.
“Alfredton laundry has been kind enough to take a lot of our large-scale commercial merchandise and we will be collecting and delivering that to businesses as usual.
“Our first move is to get everything out the back removed, cleaned and fixed. We want to be back up and running within a month.”