The West

Boulevard blaze causes $3m damage
Investigators are looking into the cause of a big fire at Boulevard Shopping Centre overnight. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Flames soared 10m into the sky and smoke billowed from the roof as dozens of firefighters battled to stop the blaze destroying more shops.

That was the scene that confronted two shop owners this morning when fire tore through The Boulevard Shopping Centre in City Beach, causing $3 million damage.

The fire started about 1.15am and gutted the City Beach Pharmacy, fish and chips restaurant The Groper and His Wife and a vacant butcher shop.

Pharmacy owner Lisa Eldon, 38, arrived at the shopping centre about 2am and watched years of hard work go up in smoke.

“One of my pharmacists lives nearby so she called me and said, ‘I think you might want to come down and have a look,'” Ms Eldon said.

“I thought, ‘A fire, how bad could it be?' But when you turn up and there are four or five fire trucks, police and a cherry picker - it was bad.

“You hope that some things will be saved, but it's all gone.

“It's devastating because we worked really hard to build up a good business and we've got loyal clientele, so it's disappointing that it's all gone.

“But it's just stuff, at the end of the day. We can build it back up again.”

Ms Eldon bought the pharmacy in 2007, but most of her customers have been coming to the shopping centre for much longer.

She said Wembley Downs pharmacist Henry Gulev, whose business burned down in 2008, had agreed to service her clientele while she rebuilt.

“I just feel sorry for our customers that we’ll let down today,” she said.

Paul Bertucci, 27, co-owner of the award-winning The Groper and His Wife, arrived about 15 minutes after Ms Eldon.

“I received a call from one of my cleaners. He had this urgency in his voice and I thought, 'I better get down there',” he said.

“It was a little bit surreal - you almost feel like you're in a dream.

“It's something you read about but you think, this can't be happening to me.”

Mr Bertucci said he expected to be back in business in about three to six months.

“Obviously we’re going to lose customers, but there's no point sitting around feeling sorry about it,” he said.

“We'll get it sorted out and get trading again.”

Both shop owners said they were covered by insurance.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Blaze at Boulevard Shopping Centre. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian
The Groper and His Wife fish and chip shop was badly damaged. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian
The West Australian

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