Bulace Dyeing fire causes $2.3 million damage, workers in limbo

By Jennifer Greive
Updated November 2 2012 - 7:13am, first published December 8 2011 - 2:45am
John Bulace looks over the remains of his factory.

FIRE has caused an estimated $2.3 million damage to a fabric dyeing factory in Wendouree, leaving the business’s 12 workers in limbo just two-and-a-half weeks before Christmas.Firefighters were called to Bulace Dyeing in Dowling Street at 4.28am yesterday, after workers across the road at Ballarat Saw and Tool noticed the building burning and called triple zero.Six Country Fire Authority units from Ballarat City and Wendouree attended the scene.A CFA spokesman said the fire — which measured 60 metres by 30 metres — had completely ruined the building.CFA crews remained on the scene for most of the morning yesterday to mop up and extinguish spot fires.Last night, fire investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the blaze. Duty officer Steve Alcock said an inspector from the Office of Gas Safety would attend the scene this morning to help determine the fire’s origins.“We’ve narrowed it down to one area of the factory — the drying room,” he said.The blaze is not considered suspicious.Speaking at the scene yesterday, Bulace Dyeing manager Shane Wren said the fire could not have come at a worse time.“It’s been a lean two years, and the Christmas rush was just coming on,” Mr Wren said.“What happens now?“The roof is unstable, the walls are unstable, and we can’t go back in.“We have 11 employees — what do they do in the meantime?”Mr Wren said the business was fully insured.“I’m just glad no one got hurt,” he said.Owner John Bulace first opened the business in Dowling Street 36 years ago.He said his business was one of the few remaining small dyeing factories in Australia.“When I started in textiles, there were 4000 people working in the industry in Ballarat,” Mr Bulace said.“Now there’s 12. Well, there was until yesterday.”Mr Bulace said his focus now was on the welfare of his workers.“I have 11 employees and my main concern is for them,” he said.