Grevillia locals hope the tiny village will recover from the fire that destroyed their store, petrol station and meeting place in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Grevillia locals hope the tiny village will recover from the fire that destroyed their store, petrol station and meeting place in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Jay Cronan

Mayor optimistic about Grevillia

THE tiny village of Grevillia received a near-knockout blow from the fire which destroyed its store, petrol station, bottle shop and post office and community meeting place but it is ready to bounce back.

Kyogle Shire Mayor Ross Brown was among those yesterday talking up the future of the village, 32km north west of Ky- ogle in the foothills of the Border Ranges and just south of the Queensland border.

Cr Brown said Grevillia had received its share of knocks in the past, but as a resilient community had always bounced back.

Despite Wednesday's devastating fire he said he remained as optimistic about its future as for any of Kyogle Shire's villages.

"It's a lovely little community. It's a picturesque area," Cr Brown said. "It's got a major road going through it and it's a nice place for tourists to stop and have a cup of coffee."

Cr Brown said a number of unoccupied houses in the village, originally used by workers at the now-closed sawmill had been vacated so they could be renovated and an on-site sewerage system updated. Now that was done he was sure they would attract renters and suggested the shop might be re-built.

"The shop was the heart of that community and was important. Whether the shop is rebuilt, it's too early to say."

Firefighters have revealed the dangers they faced extinguishing Wednesday's blaze.

Local Rural Fire Service operations manager Daniel Ainsworth said the blaze, which broke out just before 5am Wednesday, was "a very hot fire and the crews were very lucky. The gas bottles were venting and one actually exploded".

"There was debris hanging from the powerlines across the road when crews arrived so obviously there had been a very large explosion

"It was quite loud because of the jet of fire coming out of the gas bottles and the hose to the petrol bowser was on fire as well.

"Fortunately the awning fell between the fuel bowser and the shop and that actually stopped it from further spreading around the fuel bowser.

"Otherwise it could have been a very large fuel fire."



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