‘Disbelief’: Building fire a harrowing blow for Nanango
NANANGO residents were met with heartbreaking news this morning after a fire tore through the Men's Shed, "gutting" the inside of the building and destroying their machinery.
When committee member Graham Firth received the phone call at 7am this morning, he was struck with utter disbelief.
"I thought the person who told me was joking and they assured me it was serious. When I arrived, police were there and now the forensic team is up from Ipswich, and the fireys are investigating what caused it," he said.
"A huge blow has been dealt to the members of the shed. It's a meeting place for guys who need companionship and it's a sad time. We've been there for the last five years, thereabouts, and this is the first time any sort of vandalism has happened. It's just come out of the blue."
"The camaraderie, the fun and the laughter that the guys have obtained, and the friendships they've made - they come into town knowing nobody, and suddenly they're accepted into the community - it's going to be a huge blow if we can't get it up and running again."
Mr Firth has since spoken with about a dozen members, who much like himself, responded with "shock and disbelief" at the idea anyone would want to destroy a place that brings so much joy and companionship to so many people.
"We don't go out of our way to provoke anybody or create any disharmony with anybody, so we're just wondering why," Mr Firth said.
"There's no sense. There's no gain. Someone asked me this morning if there's any disharmony among the men, and I said 'no, the morale is superb at the moment'. Everybody cares for everyone else - no animosity, no friction, which brings us back to the 'why'."
Mr Firth said they will find out the extent of the damage this afternoon, but from first glance he could already see the inside had been "gutted".
"Every piece of machinery will have to be rewired, and if the heat has been too bad, the machinery is probably warped out of shape, so it can't be used," he said.
"It's going to be pretty severe, but we'll know more this afternoon."
Nanango MP Deb Frecklington said she was "devastated" to hear about the fire at the Nanango Men's Shed.
"The Shed is like a second home to its members and the loss of this facility will be a very difficult time," she said.
"While we can't be sure what has happened just yet, if it was deliberate, then we should all be rightly shocked and dismayed that anyone would want to inflict such damage and hurt.
"I have contacted the men to offer my support. Knowing the members, they'll bounce back as soon as they can, and I know the Nanango community will do all they can to help get the Shed open again."
This sentiment was reflected by Mr Firth, who said when dealt with a blow like this, you've just got to get back up again.
"No one was hurt and that's the main thing. You've just got to pick up your bat and go out and bat."
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