Club buildings destroyed in blaze

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A portable building was destroyed by a suspected arson attack at Longwarry Recreation Reserve on Wednesday night, 14 September.

Five CFA trucks rushed to the scene shortly after 8pm on Wednesday 14 September and took close to an hour to get the scene under control, but not before the frame of the building was burnt and the roof collapsed.

A CFA spokeswoman said the building – the size of a school portable – was “well alight” when fire crews arrived.

The building was about 50 metres away from the sport clubrooms.

Longwarry Football Club outgoing secretary Danielle Guttridge said her greatest fear had been that the clubrooms were on fire

“My heart was racing as I drove down to the sports ground after hearing about the fire,” she said.

“As horrible as it is, it came as a relief that it wasn’t the clubrooms on fire. The first thing I thought of was all the memorabilia. There are years and years of history there.

“The old portable building was purchased by the netball club years ago but it wasn’t in use. It was empty and wasn’t even connected to power.

“We were planning to put some money into it soon, and turn it into a meeting room and storage room.

“Now it’s just a shell.”

Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the incident and are treating the fire as suspicious.

An arson chemist examined the scene on Thursday morning.

The area was cordoned off and a crime scene guard remained at the site overnight on Wednesday.

A white four-wheel drive was seen leaving the reserve just before 8pm and police are searching for the driver to assist with inquiries.

Anyone with information was urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Warragul police on 5622 7111.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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