Thursday 4th October 2012
On Thursday 4th October 2012 at 1.30am a fire started in our Examiners Print Room, Main Street - Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. The fire quickly took hold of the small weatherboard building and it was instantly engulfed in flames.
The CFA attended the fire and controlled its spread. The adjoining Fire Station building was impacted, although the collection that it contained was saved through the excellent work of the Warrnambool CFA.
The fire was controlled within 1 hour and investigations started the following morning. It was determined that a electrical fault in one of the buildings cables had sparked the fire. Its weatherboard contruction and easterly winds at the time intensified the fire.
A passing resident videoed the fire as it took hold of the Print Store. See link here.
The fire completely destroyed our Examaners Print Store, and severly damaged the adjoining Fire Station.The village opened as normal at 9am as the fire area was only a small part of the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village area.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village has an active Collection Management Process which was enacted immediately the fire was reported.
Staff on the evening of the fire worked with the CFA to take items out of the Fire Station building and placed in a safe and secure area of the village.
The following morning staff and volunteers started the process of recovery by securing the site to ensure no items left the area without being recorded.
Security was left at the site over night to ensure no access was maintained and we could begin to account for all items on our collection register.
Collection Recovery Plan
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village received direct support from Heritage Victoria when Susie Collis from the HV Collection Lab attended the scene. Susie assisted in developing a recovery plan that took into account the safety of staff/volunteers and develop a course of action to recover any collection pieces; which involved deciding whether to save to destroy damaged items.
Recovery Nearly Finished
Through the support of our insurance company as well as staff/volunteers we are close to reopening the displays. Rebuilding of both the Fire Station and Examiers Print Shop is well advanced and we are starting the planning for the collection items to return to the buildings.
We have received many calls to help support the rebuilding of our printing shop collection. In particular we have been grateful to the Pinnaroo Heritage Centre for the wonderful support in sourcing suitable typesets and other printing materials.
Through this support we will be able to have the print shop again fully operational once the buildings are handed over to us in early December 2013.