Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

January 6th 2010
Picnic Bay restaurant destroyed by fire.

The bar area at Morans restaurant Last night a fire completely gutted the Antonio Moran Family Restaurant in Picnic Bay and this morning Police and Queensland Fire Rescue Service investigators were sifting through the remains of the blaze in which, fortunately, nobody was injured.

According to Magnetic Island Fire Service Captain, Mick Tamlyn, the alarm was raised after a local spotted flames at the back and sides of the building at 12.55am yesterday. Mick Tamlyn and a crew of three arrived first at 1.13am and were joined soon after by more firemen who quickly donned breathing apparatus in the hope of entering the building to fight the flames.

Mick Tamlyn was uncertain how long the fire had been burning prior to his arrival due to the very thick smoke but from his best observations it seemed that the fire began near the southern side wall at the end of the bar.


The fire probably began in the far side end of bar area



A view through the devastation


“It spread low towards the rear but once into the bar there was more fire and when it reached the kitchen I think there was a lot of fat or oil there and it would have been only five or ten minutes before the whole building was engulfed,” he said.

Mick Tamlyn decided not to risk injuries by sending his crew into fight the fire. Instead they trained their hoses on the building until 5am.

“I couldn't say whether it was accidental or deliberate at this stage” he said.




CIB and QFRS investigators at work



View from the north side entrance




MI Fire Captain Mick Tamblyn completes a report after a
further smouldering was discovered


Townsville CIB investigators and QFRS forensic staff were also on the scene and making a detailed study of the remains.

QFRS Investigator, Mr Peter Falesina, told Magnetic Times, “We need to dig through the area of origin. My initial observation is that it began near the wall at the end of the bar area but, because of the internal layout where there are no internal walls, it was fast spreading after an initial build-up.”

Mr Falensa suggested there had been a “flash-over” a term which describes a build-up of heat from the fire which was consuming the available oxygen in the closed up building, “to a point where everything is really hot then everything starts to ignite.”

Mr Falensa said that the smoke itself would be extremely hot, perhaps 600 to 800 degrees.

Business owner Tony Moran, still recovering from a tooth extraction, was clearly distraught when he arrived this morning and, after a brief inspection, departed to the Police station to assist the investigation.

Mr Falensa praised the efforts of the Island fire crews. “They have done a good job. The structure remains.” he said adding that he didn't know at that point if smoke alarms had been operating but, “It's a reminder if you don't have fire alarms installed”


The view from the street shows little damage


History buffs will also be saddened by the fire as the restaurant incorporated the remains of the home which belonged to the Fraser family who were pioneers at Picnic Bay.

Story and photos: George Hirst

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Picnic Bay restaurant destroyed by fire.
 
9 comments
 
Barb
January 6th 2010
I guess that is the last straw for Antonio. He may have enemies, but can't deny he is a hard worker and offered a huge range of meals. I sincerely hope he has a brighter future.
 
Sara Shaw
January 6th 2010
I smelt burning in the early hours of this morning. Thinking that maybe the Green Waste had been set alight again I checked from my
verandah to see billowing smoke coming from Picnic Bay foreshore which was much too big for it to be a beach bonfire.

I headed around the corner to see small flames coming from the centre wall of the building and the sound of breaking glass, where I headed
back, called 000 and Tony Moran to no avail, then went to check if anyone was in the Shed 9 studio, (which they weren't). The rest of the story was seeing the flames lick across the bar and encapsulate the building as the local Ambulance, Fire, Police and Ergon come to the rescue. Alas, by that stage it was too late as the fire took hold and proceeded to demolish everything in sight.

Thank goodness it was not a home with people sleeping.

Sara
 
Lorraine
January 6th 2010
Can't remember all the incarnations of this restaurant over the past 20 years, but 3 stand out - all great food and with their own atmosphere: Peter Gifford's "Max's ('round the roundabout')", oh what fun that was & great music!!, Ken & Claudia Rogers "Fred's Bar & Grill" - I still miss "our table", number 26; & Antonio Moran's - especially the mussels and the marinara pizzas. A sad loss for Tony, Picnic Bay, and the Island in general. Here's hoping the business can be rebuilt and prosper again.
 
david Butler
January 6th 2010
I was saddened to see todays report in todays Magnetict Times of the fire that has gutted what what was once the home of Nell Frazer (Nee Butler) Henry Butlers daughter who was a distant relation of mine.
It was fortunate that there was no persons in there at the the building at the time.
David Butler,Coventry,England
 
Chris C
January 6th 2010
Great report Georgie - you've saved me and my carbon footprint from having to go over the hill for a sticky beak.

It would be good to get the full chronology of incarnations the building went through - do I remember it as a gallery? And I think at some stage it was maybe the Post Office??
 
Patricia
January 8th 2010
How sad - another of our Landmarks GONE !!
even if the building is resurrected it will never
be the same,
Lets hope the spirit of Magnetic Island will make
another great 'landmark' rise from it's ashes..
 
Rose
January 23rd 2010
Makes me think of the story of another (in)famous fire at another restaurant (was it Greek?) just up the road in the Picnic Bay Mall.........
 
Keith & Betty Owens
January 24th 2010
Hey! is there a Hoodoo on Picnic Bay Well first We came there as every one knows for Our Honeymoon in 1952 at The Dunoon Guest House with all those Little Cottages Boiy if only they could have Talked what a Story they could have told with all those Young Lovers, after their Honeymoons & then bring back their Family's & that Was gorne in 2005 but then we still had left Picnic bay in 2005 with Betty Having her Birthday at Fred's with Richard Parry & Sue & Al Jacobs at Fred's wonderful people & not forgetting theior Great Staff, cannot Remember Your names But Bet & I Loved You all Now this Tradigy No Fred's or its Latter Name So come on Picnic Bay Show them They cannot keep You Down & Help them Rebuild & we will be back to Patronoise Fred's again or whatever it is Called we think Picknic Bay will never die in Our Hearts Come on Picnic Bay "YES WE CAN" so please Patronise anyone like Fred's or the Latter Owner & we are behind You no WE are in front of You! Keith & Betty Owens Hobart Tasmania .
 
Sarah Thompson
September 20th 2010
Oh my Goodness we Had a Our wedding reception at Freds in March 2006 and were heading back to the Island next March 2011 for our 5th wedding anniversary i guess we wont be having dinner there :( Sad Sad news as it holds such wonderful memories for us. Hoping something will stand in its place when we visit soon Regards Sare and Sam Thompson


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