FIRE caused about $25,000 damage to Birregurra’s Royal Mail Hotel in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It is believed that a lit cigarette butt was emptied from an ash tray into a bin, which smouldered for a couple of hours before sparking the blaze inside the hotel. The alarm was raised about 3am and two tankers from the Birregurra CFA, along with three Colac district CFA units, attended.
Manager Grant Hickey was asleep in the building next to the pub and was woken by firefighters.
“It’s all right. We’re pretty lucky,” he said. “There is really only smoke damage.”
Mr Hickey said it was hoped the hotel would only be closed for a short period of time.
“We’re waiting on insurers and then we’ll know more,” he said. “The owner is based in London so I’ll give him a call tonight.
“We think a cigarette butt has smouldered, maybe for three hours, and it has built up a lot of smoke.
“A paper delivery truck saw the smoke and called the fire brigade. No one was hurt.”
Mr Hickey said the bar area was probably due for some improvements.
“It’s a pretty old bar,” he said. “It was probably in need of a bit of a facelift.”
Birregurra CFA captain Ronnie Brown said it took about 15 minutes to control the fire.