Target, deli, art gallery and more destroyed by fire

What we know:

  • Sunday, 7.15pm: Fire breaks out at Whitsunday Shopping Centre on Shute Harbour Rd
  • Crews arrived to a building "well involved"
  • Target, one of the shops, was where the fire may have started a witness said
  • A firefighter was treated for exhaustion by paramedics
  • Businesses destroyed by last night's blaze: Target Country, Westpac Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Bank, Marino's Deli, Glambox Hair Studio, Art Whitsunday and Urban Village Homewares
  • Monday, 7.30am: Investigations are set to start today into the cause of the fire
RAVAGED: An aerial view of the Whitsunday Shopping Centre after the Target Country part of the complex was gutted by fire last night. Photo thanks to HELITAXI.com
RAVAGED: An aerial view of the Whitsunday Shopping Centre after the Target Country part of the complex was gutted by fire last night. Photo thanks to HELITAXI.com contributed

Art Whitsunday Shop and Gallery staff members have shared their grief on Facebook after losing their shop in the devastating fire overnight.

 "Tonight we all share in the deepest grief over the loss of our beautiful and unique gallery," their Facebook post last night read.  

"A massive fire earlier this evening tore through the Whitsunday shopping complex utterly destroying many shops including our gallery," the art gallery's Facebook post said.   

"We haven't yet been allowed on site to see if anything survived, but considering the heat of the inferno I fear there will be nothing left to salvage except some broken shards of glass, pottery and some twisted lumps of metal.  

"To all the artists who have lost everything our hearts go out to you and we will find a way to go on somehow even though it may take us a while to pick up the broken pieces. Our thoughts are with you all."

Fire at Whitsunday Shopping Centre, Cannonvale Queensland.
Fire at Whitsunday Shopping Centre, Cannonvale Queensland. Peter Carruthers

 

MONDAY 6.15am:

All fire crews have left the scene except one monitoring for any hotspots, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said.

Seven crews were on scene of the fire last night, she said.

One firefighter was assessed by paramedics for heat exhaustion but did not require transport a QAS spokesman said.

Police guarded the scene overnight and are expected to investigate today along with a fire investigator and scenes of crime officers once the scene is deemed safe, a QPS spokeswoman said.

Art Whitsunday Inc was one of the shops in the centre impacted by the fire.

Linda Forrester said on social media: our beautiful Art Whitsunday Shop & Gallery gone... I can't see how we will be able to hold an annual exhibition this year now. It will take us a long time to recover the losses.

Brigitte Morgan: So much love, time, effort and talent - lost from the gallery!  

Harmony Crain: So sad.. Our thoughts are with you, and all others affected.

Sarah Jae Martin: Feeling for the little art gallery and all the artists with their beautiful irreplaceable pieces...  Yep, I'd be devastated if I had something I there frown emoticon   

Robyn Gorlick: Yes there was a new exhibition set up just today with all the textile artists from Hydeaway bay..it's very devastating for them and for everyone else that works there.

Alicia Mulcahy: Absolutely heartbreaking. All that beautiful work gone.

Former Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Jenny Whitney took to social media about the fire.

Sad to hear the devastation caused by the fire at the Whitsunday shopping centre. The upheaval this will cause to our...

Posted by Jenny Whitney, Whitsunday on Sunday, April 3, 2016

 

UPDATE SUNDAY 10pm:

There are four to five fire crews at a Whitsunday Shopping Centre on Shute Harbour Rd, Cannonvale battling to contain a fire at the shopping centre.

According to witnesses, the fire started at the Target Cannonvale about 7pm.

The fire has spread but firefighter have contained the fire to the western side of the centre.

 

Whitsunday Shopping Centre blaze

WATCH: Crews now have the Whitsunday Shopping Centre blaze under control, but police ask if anyone has any information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Posted by Whitsunday Times on Sunday, April 3, 2016

 

A witness who gave his name only as Paul said he came down after hearing about the fire.

"I have just seen the building burning that's it.  i have just arrived," Paul said.

"I have heard explosion, and just glass shattering that sort of stuff."

Paul said he has never seen anything like this in Cannonvale.

Fire crew are also using a water cannon to help control the fire.

Some bystanders are concerned about how many people are going to be unemployed tomorrow. 

Police have closed Paluma Rd.

EARLIER:

Firefighters are battling to prevent the spread of a large fire in commercial premises at Cannonvale.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said at 8pm five trucks were at the scene on Shute Harbour Rd after the alarm was raised at 7.11pm.

Another four trucks responded to the large structural fire, she said, and firefighters were trying an external approach to contain the blaze as it was too dangerous to enter the building.

It was not known if anyone has been injured.



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