[First filed: Sep 27, 2010 @ 12:14]
The dereliction of the beautiful observatory buildings in the old Downer Club has long been a tragedy. This morning it burned as recorded in these postings from the ESA:
- 5:33am Monday 27 September 2010 – Fire in Dickson The ACT Fire Brigade is responding to a fire inside an old observatory building in Haldon Place Dickson.
Initial reports indicate the building is well alight.
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Update to follow.
5:50am Monday 27 September 2010 – Update – Structure fully engulfed in fire The first fire crew on scene has confirmed the dome shaped structure is fully engulfed in fire.
Three fire pumpers, breathing apparatus support van and district officer are on scene.
A large amount of smoke is being produced by the fire which is spreading over part of Dickson.
Residents are advised to keep their windows and doors closed at this time.
[Slideshow of the scene at midday below, and the intriguing police reaction] —
6:40am Monday 27 September 2010 – Update two – fire still burning Five ACT Fire Brigade pumpers, BA support and DO on scene.
Firefighters are continuing to extinguished the fire.
A large amount of smoke is still coming from the building.
7:20am Monday 27 September 2010 – Update three – Fire contained but smoke still covering nearby streets Firefighters have contained the fire but potentially toxic smoke still being sent over surrounding area.
Residents located between Hawdon Street, Cowper Street and Majura Avenue are advised to keep windows and doors closed. People with breathing conditions should remain indoors.
A search of the observatory building has confirmed no one inside.
ACT Fire Brigade Bronto and HAZMAT units also on scene.
7:53am Monday 27 September 2010 – Update four – Fire now being mopped up Firefighters have extinguished the main seat of fire with mopping up expected to continue for a few hours.
The smoke has now largely dissipated.
The cause will be examined by fire investigators and ACT Policing forensic officers but it is believed to be suspicious.
UPDATE: ACT Policing have had this to say:
ACT Policing is seeking witnesses to a fire that occurred at the old Canberra Space Dome (Planetarium) and Observatory in Dickson early this morning (Monday September 27).
Police were called to the dome shaped building around 5.30am today in response to a report of a fire at the location. The fire was extinguished by ACT Fire Brigade.
At this stage, the extent of damage to the building is unknown. The building has been vacated for a few years and was not in operation at the time of the fire.
As the building has been deemed not structurally sound AFP Forensic Services are unable to enter and conduct an examination.
Police are urging anyone who may have any information on the cause of the fire or who saw anyone in the area around the time of the fire to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or provide information via the website www.act.crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.
So if you let the building get bad enough it can’t be investigated?