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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Woolshed Pub to bounce back

06 Dec 2016

Woolshed Pub to bounce back Image

The Woolshed Pub staff and management have been working frenetically to reopen their venue since a devastating fire on November 11.

The blaze caused significant damage but the structure and Central Pier itself remains sound and the rebuilding effort began almost the same day as the fire.

Long-standing manager Duncan Laidlaw told Docklands News he hoped the venue would re-open early in March.

“No time is the right time for this to happen,” he said. “But this is the time we ‘make the hay’ for the rest of the year.”

Mr Laidlaw said the Woolshed had lost about 100 functions that had been booked. But, he said, most of the events had been relocated to other venues, mostly in Docklands.

“We’ve managed to place most of our staff at the same time,” he said. “The Docklands community has been overwhelming in their efforts to help us since the fire.”

The fire started in the kitchen at about 2.50pm. The flames in the kitchen were effectively doused, but Mr Laidlaw then noticed that the fire had already spread into the exhaust system and had taken hold in the heritage-listed building’s eves.

The fire quickly spread and the focus switched to evacuating the 30 remaining lunch customers and 20 staff. Management won the praise from the fire brigade for the faultless execution of the emergency plan.

Mr Laidlaw and others then pitched into the fire fighting effort before (and after!) the brigade arrived.

“When your baby is in flames, you want to try to put it out,” he said modestly.

Some 50 firefighters, about 15 appliances and a fire-fighting boat quickly contained the fire to the Woolshed Pub end of Shed 9.

An asbestos scare hindered the effort after firemen smashed a hole in the historic facade to get better access to the burning roof. Mr Laidlaw said the MFB handled this incident impeccably and the all clear was given at 5.30pm, which allowed other events to proceed that night on the pier.

The clean up started on Saturday morning, with the full extent of the damage revealed. Mr Laidlaw said management was taking the opportunity to improve some of the back-of-house facilities, but patrons would not see any structural differences.

He said the Docklands community would be invited to a special preview before the venue reopened.

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