A YOUNG couple has been left devastated after their recently purchased Mortlake fish and chip shop burnt down overnight.
Firefighters were called just before 10.30pm after witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from the roof of Bread And Batter, which had reopened in February as a cafe, bakery and fish and chip shop.
Fire investigators inspected the scene yesterday. The cause of the blaze, which destroyed the building, is unknown but is believed to have started in the roof.
CFA district five duty officer Steve Cooper said 10 brigades attended the scene. “There were electrical wires down outside that were sparking all over the ground,” Mr Cooper said.
“It was a bit of a hazard so we weren’t able to get to it as quick as we’d have liked.”
Store owner Nicola Herry told The Standard she and husband, Rob, opened the store in February. “It’s not the greatest thing that’s happened,” Mrs Herry said.
“We were just starting to pick up after a slow winter. We are devastated.
“We are still in shock. We don’t know what we will do now. It looks like the whole building will have to be bulldozed and rebuilt.”
Mrs Herry, who has two young children, also is expecting twins in about six weeks. She said items for their new babies had been stored in the vacant residence which adjoins the shop.
“Our brand-new pram which arrived from America a couple of weeks ago was in there.
“We haven’t been in yet. We have to wait for the CFA to do their investigation, but just looking at it from the street, I wouldn’t think anything will be salvageable. I arrived the same time as the police. There was plenty of smoke, but I couldn’t see any flames in the building.
“I thought that if the fire brigade gets here soon we might be able to save it. But within about two minutes the roof started to glow and it all collapsed in on itself. It was devastating to watch.”
Mount Shadwell Hotel publican Travis Anders was the first to notice smoke billowing from the roof of the shop, and dialled triple-0. He said his wife, Anna, called Mrs Herry at the same time.
Mr Anders said the loss of the cafe would have a big impact on the community.
“Everyone in town will rally around and support them. Last night a lot of people came out, mainly to support them and make sure they were OK,” he said.