Important records and historic memorabilia avoided major damage when a fire tore through the Shire of Ashburton office buildings and library in Onslow last week.
Police and emergency services were called to the fire about 7pm last Sunday.
The blaze gutted the entire Shire offices building as well as the adjoining Onslow Town Hall.
The damage is estimated to be around $5 million.
Shire of Ashburton acting chief executive Frank Ludovico said many of the shire’s important records were covered by plastic to protect them if tropical cyclone Narelle had crossed the coast near the town. “So, when the fire did occur and the firefighters put out the fire, normally the damage is from smoke or water damage – mainly water damage,” he said. “The plastic sheeting did protect those books from the water damage that would have occurred otherwise because of the firefighters doing their job. “A number of our records were saved, but unfortunately a number of library books didn’t.”
Mr Ludovico said honour rolls from World Wars I and II were saved, as well as photos of past Shire presidents.
However, the pictures were partially damaged by smoke and a decision to print new copies or restore the originals was still being made.
Material for community development programs, as well as office furniture and computers, were also destroyed in the blaze.
Mr Ludovico said a structural engineer was assessing the building to determine the extent of the damage.
Two boys, aged 10 and 11, were remanded on bail after appearing in Onslow Children’s Court on two counts each of aggravated burglary, stealing and criminal damage by fire.
They are due to appear in court again to face the charges in March.Four juveniles, who are below the criminal age of responsibility, have been dealt with by police in accordance with the Young Offenders Act.
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