“It was the heart of the town – now its turned to ashes.”
Ken Logan was on the cusp of purchasing the Dyers Crossing Produce Store and Barnyard Cafe, when it was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Friday, October 14.
Forster Fire Station 295 (FFS 295) crew arrived to join the NSW Rural Fire Service just after 2am.
Upon arrival of the FFS 295 crew, the building was alight.
Firefighters wore breathing apparatus, due to the building containing large amounts of asbestos.
A spokesperson for the station said, ‘the 295 crew were on scene for approximately two hours before being released from the scene’.
Specialist HAZMAT crew from Taree Fire Station 453 were also called to the scene.
Crews managed to stop the fire before it reached nearby residential units, but they could not save the iconic, 110-year-old building.
Forensic crews arrived at the business at 10am the next day (October 15).
Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command police said investigations are continuing into what started the fire.
Ken Logan, who was the interested buyer, said, ‘it’s heartbreaking’.
“The owner had to ring me and tell me what happened,” Ken said.
Ken, who owns six Circle of Friends home wares stores and new Tuncurry cafe The Deck with his partner Jason Magann, had planned to lease the property out to a friend, who would run it as a gift shop, produce store and post office.
It was also set to become the warehouse distribution centre for Ken’s growing businesses.
Ken said, on the day of the fire the current tenant was moving out.
“That building was the appeal for me. It was a beautiful 110-year-old building,” he said.
“I wish it was still there.”
Ken said, in a community like Dyers Crossing, buildings like the produce store become the ‘heart’ of the place.
He will continue to negotiate with the owner on the purchase of the property, with the intention of constructing a new building.
“It will have to be demolished. I just hope we can get a building up there,” he said.
“The community needs it.”
Police are asking those with any information to contact Forster Police Station on 6555 1299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.