FIRST FIGHTER: Tyalgum resident and business owner, Steve Guinea, was the first on the scene of the Tyalgum fire which destroyed two businesses on Coolman St.
FIRST FIGHTER: Tyalgum resident and business owner, Steve Guinea, was the first on the scene of the Tyalgum fire which destroyed two businesses on Coolman St.

First on scene fights blaze with garden hose

WITH NO time to spare Tyalgum resident Steve Guinea didn't bother putting on any clothes, other than the pyjamas he was wearing, as he attempted to fight the blaze which ripped through two businesses.

Mr Guinea, owner of the Tyalgum General Store, along with his wife were the first on the scene of Tuesday morning's fire which destroyed Orpheum Bookshop and Osiris Jewellery in Coolman St.

The business owner says he and his wife were alerted to the fire by a neighbour just after 4am.

In nothing but a pair of shorts, Mr Guinea said he ran outside immediately to do what he could.

"All I was trying to do was slow the fire down and it took some time for the firefighters to get there," he said.

"We jumped out of bed and I ran out the gate, around the corner, grabbed the garden hose and just started.

"That time of morning we were quite lucky a neighbour heard something and alerted us otherwise it could have been a lot worse."

Murwillumbah Fire and Rescue captain Greg Hayes said half of the building was destroyed in the blaze on Tuesday morning.

Mr Guinea said there was a subdued feeling in the small community, as residents come to terms with the damaged piece of history.

"There are a lot of people who are disheartened," he said.

"It is an old building with a lot of history and old buildings like that are hard to replace.

"Generally everyone is saddened by it."

Firefighters were able to control the blaze quickly, however were on the scene for until approximately 9am until the fire was completely extinguished.

Control measures had to be put in place by NSW Fire and Rescue, as the building contained asbestos.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.



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