New Acton Fire, the morning after.

By 24 June, 2011 22

hotel diamant

Anthony has sent in pictures from his home in the ApARTment building of the aftermath to last night’s fire in New Acton.

More of his photos and some I took in the slideshow below. If you’ve got more please send them in to images@the-riotact.com .


The Canberra Times is reporting that the Efkarpidis family is planning to rebuild, and that the damage has taken in Flint Restaurant, Parlour Wine Room, Bicicletta and the offices of the Molonglo Group.


This statement has been made by the owners:

Statement from Nectar Efkarpidis, Director, Molonglo Group

We are grateful and relieved that nobody was hurt and we would like to thank the authorities and the people of New Acton who responded so quickly to the fire.
We are devastated that this beautiful piece of Canberra’s history has been partially destroyed.
We have had hundreds of calls of support for which we are sincerely grateful.
We are touched that so many people share our love and our passion for New Acton.
We will rebuild. Starting tomorrow we will begin work to bring the building back to life.
Nectar Efkarpidis
Director
Molonglo Group

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22 Responses to New Acton Fire, the morning after.
#1
Thumper8:52 am, 24 Jun 11

Terribly sad to see our heritage buildings going up in flames. Hopefully it can be rebuilt.

#2
The Frots9:05 am, 24 Jun 11

Just a quick note to say ‘thanks’ to everyone for their photographs and on-going coverage of the fire last night and today………………….and of course thanks to JB for his outstanding efforts! It was by far the best and most informative coverage in Canberra!!

And what incredible photo’s!

#3
maniac9:09 am, 24 Jun 11

Thanks for the pics. It was quite amazing to see all the smoke rolling by the office window yesterday afternoon. Thanks to RA for keeping us updated. Glad no one was hurt.

#4
The Frots9:24 am, 24 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Terribly sad to see our heritage buildings going up in flames. Hopefully it can be rebuilt.

+1 on that.

#5
LadyxBec9:33 am, 24 Jun 11

The Frots said :

Thumper said :

Terribly sad to see our heritage buildings going up in flames. Hopefully it can be rebuilt.

+1 on that.

+ 2.
I has lunch at Flint yesterday with some friends, and the food was lovely, as were all the people working there. I hope they can re-build and be up an running again quickly.

#6
2legdrive12:05 pm, 24 Jun 11

If I was the owner or manager of a white timber clad commercial building in Canberra I think I would be really worried and getting some advice on how fire safe my building is. What with the recent fire in the Serviceman’s club in Kingston.
Does anyone know of similar building in Canberra?

Should we post a fireman out the front of each one just in case?

#7
Gungahlin Al12:43 pm, 24 Jun 11

Should buff out…

#8
Gungahlin Al12:46 pm, 24 Jun 11

But seriously, that’s a real shame to lose another great chunk of the Canberra history. These buildings have to have been on a par with the Sydney and Melbourne buildings as to their importance. It was so good to see them restored and I regret never having gotten around to patronising the venues there.

#9
EvanJames1:27 pm, 24 Jun 11

What an absolute shame, and to a family, not some giant conglomerate. We were at Bicicletta a few weeks back and it was bloody good. Loved the way they’d left some of the old walls, yet it was all edgy and modern, pizzas to die for. Great service too, the kids there seemed happy. The foyer of the Diament was a work of low-lit art. Those old wooden buildings would have gone up like a waxed cardboard box though, dry old wooden frames. The vibe around that whole development has been amazing, they did it so well. I’m truly sorry for the Efkarpidis family.

#10
Deref2:00 pm, 24 Jun 11

A great pity. Thanks for the coverage and the photos.

No doubt the owners will assuage their sadness by building a lovely new block of butt-ugly flats to fit in with the surroundings.

#11
mouthface2:36 pm, 24 Jun 11

Deref said :

A great pity. Thanks for the coverage and the photos.

No doubt the owners will assuage their sadness by building a lovely new block of butt-ugly flats to fit in with the surroundings.

Not quite.. here’s a message sent to my facebook page by the owners:

“Subject: Statement from Nectar Efkarpidis, Director, Molonglo Group

We are grateful and relieved that nobody was hurt and we would like to thank the authorities and the people of New Acton who responded so quickly to the fire.
We are devastated that this beautiful piece of Canberra’s history has been partially destroyed.
We have had hundreds of calls of support for which we are sincerely grateful.
We are touched that so many people share our love and our passion for New Acton.
We will rebuild. Starting tomorrow we will begin work to bring the building back to life.
Nectar Efkarpidis
Director
Molonglo Group
Sent from my iPhone”

#12
mouthface2:38 pm, 24 Jun 11

EvanJames said :

What an absolute shame, and to a family, not some giant conglomerate. We were at Bicicletta a few weeks back and it was bloody good. Loved the way they’d left some of the old walls, yet it was all edgy and modern, pizzas to die for. Great service too, the kids there seemed happy. The foyer of the Diament was a work of low-lit art. Those old wooden buildings would have gone up like a waxed cardboard box though, dry old wooden frames. The vibe around that whole development has been amazing, they did it so well. I’m truly sorry for the Efkarpidis family.

think its just that first floor above the restaurants that’s tmber, the rest is brick and masonry..

#13
I-filed4:38 pm, 24 Jun 11

The proof of the pudding and all that. Easy to put out a media release announcing an intention.

Let’s wait and see whether: oh dear, it’s going to be awfully expensive to do up … more than we expected … so sorry Canberra, we’ll just have to ….(sob) … put up a horrid building after all. You know we really would prefer to rebuild to 1930 heritage quality standards … really really

I still think ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards that would prevent a potentially development-convenient fire in such an iconic building.

Pardon my cynicism, but, frankly, given the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation in this town over the years, I think it is justified.

#14
Wily_Bear7:10 pm, 24 Jun 11

I-filed said :

The proof of the pudding and all that. Easy to put out a media release announcing an intention.

Let’s wait and see whether: oh dear, it’s going to be awfully expensive to do up … more than we expected … so sorry Canberra, we’ll just have to ….(sob) … put up a horrid building after all. You know we really would prefer to rebuild to 1930 heritage quality standards … really really

I still think ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards that would prevent a potentially development-convenient fire in such an iconic building.

Pardon my cynicism, but, frankly, given the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation in this town over the years, I think it is justified.

+ 1, Couldn’t have said it better.

#15
mouthface4:16 am, 25 Jun 11

Wily_Bear said :

I-filed said :

The proof of the pudding and all that. Easy to put out a media release announcing an intention.

Let’s wait and see whether: oh dear, it’s going to be awfully expensive to do up … more than we expected … so sorry Canberra, we’ll just have to ….(sob) … put up a horrid building after all. You know we really would prefer to rebuild to 1930 heritage quality standards … really really

I still think ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards that would prevent a potentially development-convenient fire in such an iconic building.

Pardon my cynicism, but, frankly, given the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation in this town over the years, I think it is justified.

+ 1, Couldn’t have said it better.

Hmm… what exactly is the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation? Please enlighten us. Totally ignorant comments anyway. Typical negative dribble. You probably haven’t even been to this development and don’t utilise it at all, otherwise you would know how much was invested in it by the developers. I’m really getting tired of the know-it-all asses on this site that can only contribute cynical remarks. At a time like this as well. You are aware that this place belonged to real people, and they are probably quite upset that their offices, and their restaurants went up in smoke, and you just want to carry on like this. I hope your house burns down arsehole.

#16
I-filed9:41 am, 25 Jun 11

mouthface said :

I hope your house burns down arsehole.

My house isn’t heritage listed and on prime inner-city commercial land, and I’m fully insured. But I hope your post wasn’t a threat. I am entitled to be cynical about developers. Sure, we’re, um, speculating, but as I said, we will only know in time whether the (cheap) words are followed up by a heritage rebuild.

#17
Hells_Bells7412:19 pm, 25 Jun 11

I was still getting over the Downer Club fire, the sign on the wall said Danger! Asbestos! Empty unused building full of that wouldn’t have been easy to flog off, fix up or keep! Is easy to be suspicious and I don’t think that warrants your house being burnt down, why would anyone want to wish that on anyone.

I’m glad no one was hurt and that they’ll rebuild in this case, at very least it does seem like the owners care.

#18
mouthface2:47 pm, 25 Jun 11

I-filed said :

mouthface said :

I hope your house burns down arsehole.

My house isn’t heritage listed and on prime inner-city commercial land, and I’m fully insured. But I hope your post wasn’t a threat. I am entitled to be cynical about developers. Sure, we’re, um, speculating, but as I said, we will only know in time whether the (cheap) words are followed up by a heritage rebuild.

No, it is not a threat, it is an expression of frustration at a number of people (like you) that have smugly put the boot in while the place is still smouldering. Lets see, in one post you have implied that the developers may have lit the fire (see “potentially development-convenient fire”), implied that the developers are being dishonest in announcing they will rebuild (see “Easy to put out a media release announcing an intention”), implied that some developer friendly conspiracy exists (see “given the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation in this town”), accused ACT Heritage (as if they are the people who regulate fire protection standards) of incompetency and assumed that the building was not properly fire protected (see “ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards”).

Here’s a thought: Maybe the fire was accidental (it started in a restaurant kitchen in the middle of the day while there were lots of people in the building etc), and maybe, regardless of all the fire standards being met, the fire just won. And maybe some people, like the developers and the restaurant owners and the people who worked there were lucky to not have been hurt, but are all genuinely upset that their businesses, jobs, property went up in smoke, regardless of whether they were insured or not. Regardless of whether they are in a prime city location or not. Regardless of whether they are heritage listed or not.
So you’re insured and not heritage listed? Good for you. So then it’s ok if your house burns down. (Please note: This is not a threat)

#19
I-filed1:02 pm, 26 Jun 11

mouthface said :

[… assumed that the building was not properly fire protected (see “ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards”).

Clearly a risk assessment that was adequate would have identified that having a pizza oven in a heritage building that is largely made of wood is an extreme risk of fire. If experts deemed that the risk could not be completely neutralised through fireproofing, any Heritage Commission worth its salt would have said, “sorry, no pizza oven”. ACT Heritage have been negligent if the building custodians were allowed to take such a fire risk.

#20
creative_canberran3:10 pm, 26 Jun 11

I-filed said :

The proof of the pudding and all that. Easy to put out a media release announcing an intention.

Let’s wait and see whether: oh dear, it’s going to be awfully expensive to do up … more than we expected … so sorry Canberra, we’ll just have to ….(sob) … put up a horrid building after all. You know we really would prefer to rebuild to 1930 heritage quality standards … really really

I still think ACT Heritage are the culprits for not requiring fire standards that would prevent a potentially development-convenient fire in such an iconic building.

Pardon my cynicism, but, frankly, given the Barr-Stanhope-Developer situation in this town over the years, I think it is justified.

I think you’ll find many heritage buildings have wood fire places and old fashioned stoves, which is to say nothing of sometimes ancient electrical wiring. Old buildings have hazards, it’s a fact.

As for not requiring fire standards, I don’t know what conditions were attached to the development so I couldn’t speak about requirements. What I do know is the development included a fire wall which alone stopped the fire spreading to other buildings. Whether that was a requirement or just smart thinking by the developers, the point is it was there and did the job.

#21
I-filed4:26 pm, 26 Jun 11

creative_canberran said :

I think you’ll find many heritage buildings have wood fire places and old fashioned stoves, which is to say nothing of sometimes ancient electrical wiring. Old buildings have hazards, it’s a fact.

Old-fashioned stoves had triple brick chimneys which would never allow beams to be exposed to enough heat to cause a fire – even if the chimney itself caught on fire. Old electrical wiring is checked and replaced in any heritage upgrade. You also don’t leave open fireplaces in heritage buildings unless they are going to be supervised whenever they are lit, and that there is nothing flammable within spark distance other than very slow-burning e.g. wool carpet. Stopping the fire from spreading to another building with a firewall is beside the point. The point is that precautions on the face of it were inadequate. Let’s see what the investigation comes up with.

#22
creative_canberran7:20 pm, 26 Jun 11

I-filed said :

You also don’t leave open fireplaces in heritage buildings unless they are going to be supervised whenever they are lit, and that there is nothing flammable within spark distance other than very slow-burning e.g. wool carpet. Stopping the fire from spreading to another building with a firewall is beside the point. The point is that precautions on the face of it were inadequate. Let’s see what the investigation comes up with.

Canberra Times reported yesterday that the current belief is the ACT Services Club fire was caused by residual heat from fires lit, breaking out while closed and no one there.

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